Ghana, Kenya and Gabon have called for increased cooperation between the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Secretariat and the Syrian Authorities to make tangible progress on the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme.
Mr Harold Adlai Agyeman, The Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations and President of the UN Security Council for the month of November, speaking at the UN Security Council Consultations Meeting on the Middle East (Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme), presented a statement on behalf of the three African countries (A3) – Ghana, Kenya and Gabon.
A copy of the statement, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency by the Ghana Permanent Mission to the UN, said Mr Agyeman expressed gratitude to Madam Izumi Nakamitsu, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, for her briefing and welcome the participation in the meeting of the representatives of Syria, Iran and Turkiye.
“We welcome the 109th report of the OPCW and the submission of the 107th monthly report by the Syrian National Authorities on the country’s chemical weapons programme,” he said.
“We, however, remain concerned that there has not been tangible progress by the stakeholders in their attempts to fully address the issue in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
Mr Agyeman said called into question the propriety of the frequency with which the Council meets on the Syria chemical weapons file when little to no headway was made in dealing with the issue.
“We join other members of this Council in calling for a review of the status quo to enable us to focus attention and resources on the other existing challenges facing the Syrian people.”
He reiterated their support for resolution 2118 (2013) of this Council, and that they note with regret that there continue to be significant divergence between the positions of the OPCW and the Syrian authorities regarding the outstanding gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies related to the destruction the country’s chemical weapons.
He said the use of chemical weapons aside from being a clear and egregious violation of international law posed danger to the health of civilians and a grave threat to international peace and security.
Mr Agyeman said in this regard, failure by the international community to fully and verifiably destroy all chemical weapons in Syria, would be setting a bad precedent as far as the production and use of chemical weapons was concerned.
He said the international community must assume responsibility for a definite closure of the matter to help curtail the likelihood of the production and possible use of chemical weapons anywhere by anyone, under any circumstances, including by rogue elements.
He said on a positive note, they welcome the re-initiation of communication between the focal points of the Syrian and the OPCW as a step in the right direction.
He said it was their considered view that such cooperation between the Syrian national authority and the Secretariat of the OPCW, would facilitate the conclusive resolution of the outstanding issues, including, the organization of the 25th round of consultations with the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT).
“We, therefore, call on the two sides to expedite action on the modalities for convening the high-level in-person meeting between the Syrian Foreign Minister and the Director-General of the OPCW, to help give the needed impetus to the efforts towards a satisfactory resolution of all the outstanding issues,” he stated.