Statement by the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Briefing on Syria - Chemical Weapons, 5 October 2020

Thank you, Mr President,

Let me begin by thanking Ms Izumi Nakamitsu (High Representative for Disarmament Affairs) for her briefing.

South Africa strongly supports multilateralism and the international rule of law, which includes the non-discriminatory and consistent application of the provisions of relevant multilateral instruments, and the preservation of the international norms against weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons.

The use of chemical weapons undermines the international norms against the production, use and stockpiling of such weapons, established under the Chemical Weapons Convention. In this regard, South Africa reiterates its long-standing position against the use of chemical weapons. No cause can ever justify the use of any weapon of mass destruction by any actor under any circumstances.

Mr President,

South Africa remains committed to its international obligations as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and as a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (the OPCW). The alleged use of chemical weapons by a State party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, is a very serious matter that would constitute a material breach of obligations under the Convention.

In order to ensure that States Parties adhere to their obligations, it is imperative that they have full faith and confidence in the work and processes of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. As the only technically competent international authority in this area, external interference in its work should not be tolerated.

States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention should therefore unite in preserving the international norm against chemical weapons and the provisions of the Convention, along with its consistent and non-discriminatory implementation.

As indicated on a number of occasions, South Africa will continue to work for the depoliticisation of the relevant management and decision-making structures established under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and also towards ensuring that States Parties are held accountable for any violations of their obligations, based on credible, impartial and irrefutable evidence.

In conclusion, Mr President, South Africa firmly believes that we should endeavour to approach the situation in Syria in a holistic manner, where the political, humanitarian and chemical weapons tracks, all converge in a single unified path, to long-term peace, security and stability for Syria.

The only sustainable solution to the Syrian question remains the achievement of a political solution through an inclusive Syrian-led dialogue, aimed at a political resolution reflective of the will of the people of Syria.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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