Archive for November 2nd, 2017

Closing Session, First Committee Approves Draft on Chemical Weapons Convention, Sending Total of 58 Texts to General Assembly

Sending a total of 58 draft resolutions and decisions to the General Assembly, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today concluded its seventy‑second session with the approval of a draft on the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction.

First Committee Chair Mouayed Saleh (Iraq) said a number of critical challenges had presented themselves during the session.  Grave concerns had been raised about a range of concerns, especially those related to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Indeed, progress and failures in the field of disarmament had been clearly reflected during the thematic debates and the Committee’s action on drafts, including 30 approved by recorded vote, he said in closing remarks.  Despite differences on the right approach to take, Member States had made clear their commitment to nuclear disarmament and to overcoming obstacles with a view to finding common ground toward the shared objective — a nuclear‑weapon‑free world.

Divergent views were expressed today, as the Committee approved the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/72/L.26), by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 6 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria, Zimbabwe), with 12 abstentions.

By the terms of the draft, the General Assembly would, among other things, reaffirm its condemnation of the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances, and express its strong conviction that those individuals responsible for their use must and should be held accountable.

Yet, prior to approving the text as a whole, it held separate recorded votes on whether or not to retain several operative paragraphs.

By a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 9 against (Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe), with 27 abstentions, the Committee approved the retention of operative paragraph 15.  By that paragraph, the Assembly would express grave concern that the OPCW Technical Secretariat was not able to resolve all identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in Syria’s declaration and, therefore, could not fully verify that Syria had submitted a declaration that could be considered accurate and complete.

By a vote of 122 in favour to 11 against, with 24 abstentions, the Committee decided to retain operative paragraph 2.  That provision would have the Assembly condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in Syria, as reported by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism.  Among the findings cited in that paragraph, the Joint Investigative Mechanism’s 26 October 2017 report had concluded that there was sufficient information to be confident that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Daesh) had been responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh, on 15 and 16 September 2016, and that Syria had been responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Shaykhun, on 4 April 2017.

Expressing scepticism of the report’s findings, the representative of the Russian Federation, explaining his country’s position on “L.26/Rev.1”, said evidence the Joint Investigative Mechanism had provided had distorted facts, had been gathered with incredible speed and was impartial.

Several representatives, including those of Algeria and Viet Nam, expressed regret that “L.26/Rev.1” had not recognized the progress made by Syria, which faced a difficult security landscape in destroying its chemical weapon stockpile and cooperating with OPCW initiatives.

Agreeing, Syria’s delegate said his country adhered to the Chemical Weapons Convention, supported OPCW efforts and had always cooperated sincerely with the Joint Investigative Mechanism.  The politicization and bias of “L.26/Rev.1” did not reflect reality, he stressed.

As the sponsor of the draft resolution, Poland’s representative said that given the current situation, the comprehensive implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention was needed now more than ever before.  Despite the Convention’s provisions, chemical weapons were still being used, and efforts to address it should not stop.  Changes included in “L.26/Rev.1” reflected that approach.

The representative of the United States said the draft resolution accurately reflected the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention and supported the extraordinary work done in Syria by OPCW and the Joint Investigative Mechanism.  The international community must continue to condemn the use of chemical weapons by any actor; anything less would be utterly irresponsible, he said.

Some delegates regretted the addition or absence of incidents involving the alleged use of chemical weapons.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had proposed to remove language referring to an attack in Malaysia on one of its citizens.  It was illegal and contrary to the Charter of the United Nations to include in “L.26/Rev.1” the “Malaysian case”, which was unrelated to the draft, he said, insisting on deleting any mention of the case in operative paragraph 3.

That paragraph would have the Assembly reiterate the grave concern expressed by the OPCW Executive Council in its decision EC-84/DEC.8 of 9 March 2017 that, according to statements by the Government of Malaysia, a chemical weapon — the Schedule 1 nerve agent VX — was used in a fatal incident on 13 February 2017 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

By a recorded vote of 116 against to 5 in favour (Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria, Vanuatu), with 23 abstentions, the Committee rejected the proposed amendment to operative paragraph 3.

China’s representative referred to abandoned chemical weapons Japan had placed in his country, noting that they remained a grave threat to the Chinese people and environment.  Even though the situation should be afforded more attention by the intentional community, China had proposed to include that issue in “L.26/Rev.1” to no avail.

The Committee also approved its draft provisional programme of work and timetable for 2018 (document A/C.1/72/CRP.6).

Speaking in explanation of vote were representatives of Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Montenegro, Egypt, France, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Lebanon, India, Venezuela, Japan, Israel and Nigeria.

Delivering closing statements were representatives of Nigeria (for the African Group), Mexico, China, Mauritania (for the Arab Group), Indonesia (for the Non‑Aligned Movement), Venezuela and Cuba.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Poland, United States, United Kingdom, Syria and Turkey.

Background

The First Committee met this afternoon to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions before it.  For background information, see Press Release GA/DIS/3571 of 2 October.

Action on Draft Texts

The Committee considered the issue of other weapons of mass destruction.

The representative of Poland, making a general statement, said his country was a sole sponsor presenting the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/72/L.26/Rev.1).  Having gained unanimous support in past sessions, the draft resolution had regrettably lost its consensual character in 2016.  However, given the current situation, the comprehensive implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention was needed more than ever before.  “L.26/Rev.1” accurately reflected the current status of implementation by States.  Chemical weapons were still being used despite the Chemical Weapons Convention’s provisions.  The situation was dynamic and efforts to address it should not stop.  The amendments introduced in the revised version reflected that approach and considered updated language stemming from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission in Syria.  Asking the First Committee to consider “L.26/Rev.1” in its entirety, he said the revised draft resolution was the result of an open, transparent and meaningful process.

The representative of Syria said his country had fulfilled the obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and had made unprecedented achievements by terminating its chemical weapons programme.  Rejecting the false accusations and allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian armed forces, he emphasized that Syria did not possess such weapons.  Terrorist groups were still using chemical weapons and Syria had provided detailed information on that, including a message requesting that the OPCW‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism send a fact-finding mission to Khan Shaykhun.

The representative of Iran said his country had been a victim of the frequent use of chemical weapons and still suffered from the related consequences.  Iran had not retaliated after those attacks and had supported the Convention by signing it and ratifying it.  Attaching paramount importance to the Convention and its implementation, he welcomed the Russian Federation’s achievement of fully eliminating its chemical weapons arsenal and urged all non-States parties and Israel to join the instrument.  The original goal of “L.26/Rev.1” was to promote the Convention’s implementation, however, in recent years, technical issues had been politicized, making its approval by consensus impossible.  He called for an end of that politicization and for “L.26/Rev.1” to be approved unanimously.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said operative paragraph 3 of “L.26/Rev.1” mentioned the “Malaysian case”, which was an example of putting political pressure on his country.  It was illegal and contrary to the Charter of the United Nations to include the “Malaysian case”, which was unrelated to “L.26/Rev.1”, he said, insisting on deleting any mention of the case in operative paragraph 3.

The representative of the Russian Federation said “L.26/Rev.1” had undergone significant changes for the worst, becoming a document that undermined the Chemical Weapons Convention and had led to an unnecessary confrontation.  In addition, “L.26/Rev.1” had moved to the “backburner” the universality of the Convention and the complete elimination of chemical weapons in his country, the latter being the most important event of 2017.  It was unfortunate that the authors of the draft did not have any kind words for the Russian Federation or for the State partners that had offered their assistance.  Operative paragraph 10 was put together as through the main achievement was simply the OPCW announcement of the elimination of his country’s stockpile.  Further, operative paragraph 11 welcomed the progress on the destruction of category 2 chemical weapons in Libya.  Those two events were incompatible in importance.  The draft resolution also attempted to discredit the confirmed positive results of Syria’s chemical weapon demilitarization activities.  The Government of Syria, under difficult circumstances, had eliminated its entire military chemical weapon capacity, he said, adding that no State had ever accomplished such an achievement under such circumstances and under such a tight time frame.  The Joint Investigative Mechanism had not done anything to investigate the real circumstances of what had taken place in Khan Shaykhun.  His delegation would reject attempts to mislead the international community through a remote investigation based on the manipulation of facts.  Those in favour of “L.26/Rev.1” would become accomplices in enshrining a flawed practice in international relations.  The Russian Federation would vote against “L.26/Rev.1”, as it undermined the Chemical Weapons Convention and the very basis of intergovernmental cooperation in disarmament and arms control.

The representative of the United States, speaking on behalf of several countries, said he was amazed at the lengths to which the Russian Federation would go to defend the regime in Damascus.  His delegation would vote in favour of “L.26/Rev.1”, as it accurately reflected the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention and supported the extraordinary work done in Syria by OPCW and the Joint Investigative Mechanism.  Underscoring the need to hold accountable those responsible for the use of chemical weapons, he said the use of such arms was a threat to everyone everywhere.  The Joint Investigative Mechanism had released a report that had confirmed the use of sarin by the Syrian Government in April 2017 in Khan Shaykhun and the international community must hold Syria accountable.  He also condemned the use of chemical weapons by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and non-State actors.  He expressed support for the extension of the Joint Investigative Mechanism to investigate further cases.  Recent events had made it clear that the international community must maintain the integrity of the Chemical Weapons Convention and of related international norms and laws.  It must also continue to condemn in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons by any actor; anything less would be utterly irresponsible.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation fully supported the Chemical Weapons Convention and had complied with all its provisions.  However, Cuba would be unable to support “L.26/Rev.1” because on the Convention’s twentieth anniversary, her delegation had made an appeal to approve by consensus the draft resolution to send a signal of unity to the international community.  During consultations, Cuba’s proposals to restore the balance of “L.26/Rev.1” had not been considered.  The draft resolution lacked balance, had been politicized and failed to reflect the work accomplished during the past year within the Convention’s framework.  As such, Cuba would vote against operative paragraph 2 and abstain on preambular paragraph 4, operative paragraph 15 and the draft as a whole.  On operative paragraph 2, she emphasized that the First Committee was not mandated to take action on a report that had been submitted to the Security Council.  That issue must be resolved without being politicized and within the OPCW framework.

The representative of Saudi Arabia said “L.26/Rev.1” included the exceptional work done by the Joint Investigative Mechanism and the OPCW fact-finding mission and reaffirmed the importance of holding accountable those responsible for the use of chemical weapons.  Concerned by reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, he emphasized the importance of taking a strict position against those responsible for their use.

The representative of Syria said some delegations, such as the United States, had disregarded accomplishments, resorting to duplicity by highlighting matters unrelated to “L.26/Rev.1”.  While those same countries had expressed an interest in a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, all studies indicated that Israel was the only possessor of such weapons in the region.  The United States and other countries should insist that Israel complied with international obligations.  Further, Israel had used biological and chemical weapons against the people of the region.  Syria adhered to the Chemical Weapons Convention and supported the draft resolution calling to make the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.  Syria also supported OPCW efforts and had always cooperated sincerely with the Joint Investigative Mechanism.  The politicization and bias of “L.26/Rev.1” did not reflect reality, especially language used in preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraph 15.  As such, his delegation would vote against those paragraphs and against “L.26/Rev.1” as a whole.

The representative of Malaysia said the main sponsor had provided opportunities to engage in discussions on “L.26/Rev.1”.  The current formulation of operative paragraph 3 included input from OPCW and a factual reference of the Government of Malaysia’s statement on the use of nerve agent VX.  Endorsing “L.26/Rev.1”, Malaysia also supported the retention of that paragraph.

The representative of Iran said his delegation would vote against “L.26/Rev.1” because it had been politicized, serving the short-term interests of certain States.  In referring to contentious and politicized issues, the draft resolution shifted attention from the Chemical Weapons Convention real objective.  In addition, “L.26/Rev.1” deliberately ignored the accession of Syria to the Convention and provided in a misleading manner inaccurate and biased information on the use of chemical weapons in that country.  Noting that OPCW inspectors had not taken samples, he said the Joint Investigative Mechanism’s conclusion was based on speculations, assumptions and remote assessments, instead of relying on scientific information.  Thus, the Joint Investigative Mechanism lacked reliability and its conclusions and related report had no credibility.

The representative of Montenegro associated her delegation with the statement made by the United States, on behalf of several countries.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction” (document A/C.1/72/L.26/Rev.1).  By the text, the Assembly would reaffirm its condemnation in the strongest possible terms of the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances and expressing its strong conviction that those individuals responsible for the use of chemical weapons must and should be held accountable.

Prior to approving that text as a whole, the Committee held a separate recorded vote on an oral amendment to operative paragraph 3 proposed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, followed by recorded votes to retain preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 2 and 15.

By a recorded vote of 116 against to 5 in favour (Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria, Vanuatu), with 23 abstentions, the Committee rejected the proposed amendment to operative paragraph 3.

That paragraph would have the Assembly reiterate the grave concern expressed by the OPCW Executive Council in its decision EC-84/DEC.8 of 9 March 2017 that, according to statements by the Government of Malaysia, a chemical weapon — the Schedule 1 nerve agent VX — was used in a fatal incident on 13 February 2017 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

By a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 7 against (Belarus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria, Zimbabwe), with 19 abstentions, the Committee approved the retention of preambular paragraph 4.

That paragraph would have the Assembly re-emphasize its unequivocal support for the decision of the OPCW Director‑General to continue the mission to establish the facts surrounding allegations of the use of chemical weapons for hostile purposes in Syria.

By a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 11 against, with 24 abstentions, the Committee approved the retention of operative paragraph 2.

That paragraph would have the Assembly condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons as reported by the Joint Investigative Mechanism in:  reports of 24 August 2016 and 21 October 2016, which had concluded that there was sufficient information to determine that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces were responsible for the attacks which released toxic substances in Talmenes, on 21 April 2014, and in Sarmin and Qmenas, on 16 March 2015, and that ISIL had used sulfur mustard in Marea, on 21 August 2015; and the report of 26 October 2017, which had concluded that there was sufficient information to be confident that ISIL was responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh, on 15 and 16 September 2016, and that Syria was responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Shaykhun, on 4 April 2017.

Also by operative paragraph 2, the Assembly would demand that the perpetrators immediately desist from any further use of chemical weapons.

By a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 9 against (Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe), with 27 abstentions, the Committee approved the retention of operative paragraph 15.

By that paragraph, the Assembly would express grave concern that the OPCW Technical Secretariat was not able to resolve all identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in Syria’s declaration and, therefore, could not fully verify that Syria had submitted a declaration that could be considered accurate and complete.  The Assembly would also underscore the importance of such full verification.

The Committee then approved the draft, as a whole, by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 6 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria, Zimbabwe), with 12 abstentions.

The representative of Egypt, explaining his position, said his delegation had participated in negotiations leading up to the adoption of the Chemical Weapons Convention and supported its objectives.  To reiterate its firm position against chemical weapons use, Egypt continued to vote in favour of the related draft resolution.

The representative of France, associating himself with the United States, said chemical weapons were being used in Syria and the Joint Investigative Mechanism had concluded that the Syrian armed forces were responsible.  The members of the fact-finding mission and Joint Investigative Mechanism had proven their worth, he said, emphasizing that France would not accept the deconstruction of the non-proliferation regime.  Priority should be given to the full dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.  In that context, he called on States to build the necessary consensus before the Joint Investigative Mechanism’s mandate ended.

The representative of Ecuador, noting that his country was a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention and did not possess any such arms, condemned their use.  Ecuador had voted in favour of “L.26/Rev.1”, as a whole, but had abstained on preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraph 15 because their inclusion had politicized the draft resolution, preventing the First Committee from reaching a consensus.  Incorporating contentious paragraphs that were accepted by some States weakened the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The representative of Bangladesh said that as a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, his delegation was concerned about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Malaysia and Syria.  Having voted in favour of retaining operative paragraph 2 and preambular paragraph 4 of “L.26/Rev.1”, Bangladesh believed the information was factual.  However, his delegation had abstained on operative paragraph 15, as the text did not consider progress Syria had made in eliminating its stockpile.  He encouraged collaboration to resolve outstanding issues.

The representative of Lebanon said her delegation was fully committed to the objectives and principles of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which it was a party.  The use of such weapons was a blatant violation of international law. However, her delegation had abstained on operative paragraph 2, in keeping with the Government of Lebanon’s policy on the Syria crisis and despite its appreciation for the work of OPCW and the firm belief in the need for cooperation to rid the world of such weapons.

The representative of China, reaffirming the significance of the Chemical Weapons Convention, said that in Syria, his delegation supported the OPCW in conducting an impartial investigation.  However, there were still differences over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Operative paragraphs 2 and 15 had not taken into consideration proposals made by China and other countries.  The lack of objectivity in “L.26/Rev.1” was not conducive to finding solutions on chemical weapons.  On the issue of abandoned chemical weapons Japan had placed in China, such weapons remained a grave threat to the Chinese people and environment and the situation should be afforded more attention by the intentional community.  China had proposed to include that issue in “L.26/Rev.1” to no avail.  For those reasons, China had voted against the draft resolution, as a whole, and operative paragraphs 2 and 15.  The draft’s sponsors should pay more attention to concerns in the interest of maintaining unity among State parties to the Convention.

The representative of India, having voted in favour of “L.26/Rev.1”, expressed regret that consensus had not been possible.  Particularly concerned about reports on terrorist groups using chemical weapons, she said the international community must take actions to prevent the future use of such arms by non-State actors.

The representative of Venezuela expressed concern that controversial elements had politicized “L.26/Rev.1” and tried to establish conclusions when no definite results had been reached.  Such divisive factors made it impossible to reach consensus and thus, Venezuela had abstained.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation had voted against “L.26/Rev.1” and denounced the inclusion in operative paragraph 3 of a reference to the death of one of its citizens from the use of chemical weapons.  The policy of his Government was not to produce or use or stockpile chemical weapons.  To include the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea into the draft was an intentional plot by the United States, he said, rejecting the draft, particularly operative paragraph 3.

The representative of Japan, having voted in favour of “L.26/Rev.1”, expressed support for the OPCW fact‑finding mission and the Joint Investigative Mechanism in determining responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  They were fair and accurate and had made concrete achievements, he said.

The representative of Israel, aligning herself with the United States, said the latest OPCW report had indicated that the use of chemical weapons was widespread in Syria and the Government of Syria was responsible for the use of sarin in Khan Shaykhun.  Indeed, there was a consistent and unacceptable pattern of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime against its people and it was evident that its residual chemical capabilities must be fully dismantled, or else it would continue its shameful pattern and rehabilitate its chemical weapons programme.  Israel had voted in favour of “L.26/Rev.1” because it supported the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The representative of Nigeria expressed support for “L.26/Rev.1” and its ability to further international peace and security, but had abstained on operative paragraphs 2 and 15.  His delegation had been concerned about accusations that had not been fully substantiated.  However, despite raising those issues during the consultative process, they had not been considered.

The representative of Viet Nam said his delegation condemned the use of chemical weapons and all actions causing harm to innocent civilians.  Their use was a violation of international law and went against all moral and ethical principles of humanity.  His delegation had continued its tradition of voting in favour of “L.26/Rev.1”.  However, it would abstain on operative paragraph 15, as that text failed to recognize efforts that had been made by the Syrian Government to eliminate its chemical weapons programme.

The representative of Algeria expressed commitment to the principles of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which his country was a party.  However, his delegation had hoped “L.26/Rev.1” would have had a general nature based on the Convention and the positive elements of its implementation.  He regretted to note that the draft resolution had not recognized the progress made by Syria in destroying its chemical weapon stockpile and cooperating with OPCW, even with the difficult security situation in the country as the result of attacks by terrorist groups.  As such, the draft was unbalanced.  He also took issue that delegations did not have access to the latest report mentioned in operative paragraph 2 and that the fact-finding mission had not visited a site mentioned in its report.  Algeria had abstained on operative paragraphs 2 and 15, as they contained elements that could not be verified.

The representative of the Russian Federation, referring to “L.26/Rev.1”, said his country was a strong supporter of the Chemical Weapons Convention and favoured concrete action.  Calling on delegates to refrain from confusing two different and incompatible elements, he said, on the one hand, there was consideration of the Convention and, on the other hand, a desire of the United States and its allies to remove the legitimate Government of Syria from power.  Evidence provided by the Joint Investigative Mechanism was a distortion of the facts, with incidents having been staged by anti-Government forces that had no relation to the actions of the Syrian armed forces.  Certain partners would continue to blame the Syrian Government because of their goal to remove President Bashar Al-Assad by any means possible.  Even the most despicable claims had been examined with incredible speed and the result always bore the same bias, he said, emphasizing that the Syrian Government had not been involved in the incident in Khan Shaykhun.  Further, the Joint Investigative Mechanism had decided field visits were not necessary, as they might contradict information they had already received.  The United States had a major military political interest in the Middle East and President Assad had, at one point, been its partner.  But, as soon as he refused to take instructions from Washington, he had been turned into a monster, he said, emphasizing that the Russian Federation, unlike the United States, did not support or remove any regimes.

The Committee then approved its draft provisional programme of work and timetable for 2018 (document A/C.1/72/CRP.6).

Right of Reply

The representative of Poland, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said “L.26/Rev.1” was not about States, but exclusively about the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Just as positive developments in the instrument’s implementation were highlighted, serious problems had been included.  That was the only way to address the implementation process in an open and transparent way.

The representative of the United States said the Russian Federation’s delegate needed to end the propaganda, which added nothing to the discussion, and pay attention to the vote on “L.26/Rev.1”, which was supported by the majority of States.

The representative of the United Kingdom, noting that there were no British citizens in leadership roles in the Joint Investigative Mechanism, encouraged States who questioned the presented evidence to thoroughly read the latest report.  Also, the Security Council had unanimously agreed on the Joint Investigative Mechanism’s mandate and had ensured that the process would result in an objective outcome.

The representative of Syria said it was ironic that Israel’s delegate had made accusations against other States when it had rejected the appeal of the majority of countries to adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention.  All reports and studies had documented the facts, including the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, known as the Goldstone Report, issued in 2009.  France had delivered to terrorist groups a range of munitions that included toxic chemical substances.  His delegation understood the pressure western States had put on Poland, but that did not exempt it from having tabled a politicized and biased draft resolution that focused almost exclusively on Syria.  Such draft resolutions targeting one State had no place in the First Committee.

The representative of Turkey reminded the Committee that there were two independent bodies:  one to investigate if chemical weapons had been used in Syria and another to investigate who had deployed them.  The Syrian regime now found itself in an uncomfortable position by accusing others, he said, pointing out the voting results.

The representative of Poland reiterated that “L.26/Rev.1” was not about States, but about the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The representative of Syria said his counterpart from Poland had refused to include in “L.26/Rev.1” references to the progress mentioned in the OPCW Director-General’s report.  He said the representative of Turkey had always tried to hide and deny its responsibility in transferring chemical substances to Syria.

Closing Remarks

MOUAYED SALEH (Iraq), Chair of the First Committee, said it had finished its work in four weeks and four days, hearing 131 statements during the general debate and 312 interventions in the thematic discussion segment.  The Committee approved a total of 58 draft resolutions and decisions, 30 by recorded vote.

The representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, underscored the value of the Committee’s important mandate in reaching the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

The representative of Mexico, welcoming the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, expressed pride for the Committee’s work that had led to the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a civil society organization that had supported the effort.  He raised a concern that the Committee had worked in violation of rule 103 of the Rules and Procedures, which, among other things, ensured the election of the Bureau on the basis of equitable geographic distribution.  In fact, the Committee had not guaranteed the representation of all regional groups, casting doubt on the principle of equitable geographic representation.

The representative of China said that in the present international security environment, every Member State should hold high the banner of multilateralism and seek win-win solutions.

The representative of Mauritania, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, commended the chairmanship and the Secretariat staff and Bureau for their work.

The representative of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, urged all States to display the required political will and cooperation to ensure a safe world.

The representative of Venezuela expressed satisfaction over the work done during the session.  However, he was surprised by comments made by his counterpart from Mexico, who had tried to shift responsibility of Committee elections to the Bureau and the Secretariat.  That responsibility rested with the countries that had attempted to block, for political reasons, the election of Venezuela as Vice-Chair.  He regretted to note that facts were being distorted and doubt was being cast on the Secretariat and the Bureau.

The representative of Cuba expressed full support for the selection of Venezuela as Vice-Chair of the First Committee.

Mr. SALEH said the Committee had faced a number of critical challenges in its seventy-second session.  Progress in the field of disarmament, as well as failures, had clearly been reflected during thematic debates and in the draft resolutions and decisions the Committee had approved.  Grave concerns had been raised about a range of challenges, especially those related to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.  Despite differences on the right approach to take, Member States had made it clear that they were committed to nuclear disarmament and overcoming obstacles to find common ground towards the shared objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Highlighting several important moments of 2017, he pointed to the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Nobel Peace Prize that had been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.  The current First Committee session had proven that numerous disarmament components were vital.  Various proposals had been submitted to expert groups dealing with a wide array of concerns.  Meanwhile, developments in the field of technology and science had provided many societal benefits, but work needed to be done to tackle their potential adverse effects to peace and security.

Read More

Global Win-Win Cooperation – “B&R” Digital Economy Strategic Alliance Conference Takes Place

JINAN, China, Nov. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — With “Global Win-Win Cooperation” as the theme, the “B&R” Digital Economy Strategic Alliance Conference was held on November 2 at the Inspur Jinan Science and Technology Park, Jinan, China. Attendees include enterprise representatives Peter Sun, Chairman and CEO of Inspur Group; Owen Chan, Senior Vice President of Cisco Systems, Inc., Chairman of […]
Read More

Inspur Launches the “B&R” Digital Economy Strategic Alliance

JINAN, China, Nov. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — On November 2, the “B&R” Digital Economy Strategic Alliance, initialized by Inspur and co-founded by Cisco, IBM, Diebold Nixdorf and Ericsson, was established in Jinan, China. The Alliance will integrate the world-class IT products, technologies and solutions of its members to accelerate the construction of digital silk road […]
Read More

Minister Davies held a meeting with SADC secretariat

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies held the meeting with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana. Minister Davies was representing the chair of SADC (President Jacob Zuma) to discuss the develo...
Read More

Minister Davies held a meeting with SADC secretariat

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies held the meeting with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana. Minister Davies was representing the chair of SADC (President Jacob Zuma) to discuss the develo...
Read More

Zimbabwe Online News is an interactive website which compiles all form of news and press releases for the visitors.

Read More!

Zimbabwe Online News Copyright © 2017