Swedish statement at the UN Security Council briefing on the Middle East Syria
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council briefing on the Middle East Syria (chemical weapons), 5 February 2018, New York.
Thank you Mr President and I also want to congratulate you for taking over the Presidency for the month of February. And I want to thank High Representative Izumi Nakamitsu for her briefing today.
In recent weeks there have been new alarming reports of alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The most recent allegation was this weekend in Idlib. These reported attacks must be immediately investigated by the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to which we offer our full and unreserved support.
We reiterate our condemnation in the strongest terms of the use of chemical weapons. It is a serious violation of international law and it constitutes a threat to international peace and security. Their use in armed conflict amounts to a war crime. Perpetrators of such crimes must be held accountable. We cannot accept impunity.
This is why Sweden joined the 'International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons', as initiated by France. As a member of this Council and of the OPCW Executive Council, we support all international efforts to combat the use and proliferation of chemical weapons by State or non-State actors alike anywhere in the world.
We count on this initiative to complement and support our collective work in multilateral fora as well as the existing multilateral mechanisms to achieve unity around those important goals. This also includes the Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) which both have important mandates in collecting information.
I thank again High Representative Nakamitsu for her briefing. You reminded us that work remains on implementation of resolution 2118. The outstanding issues relating to Syria's initial declaration must be resolved without further delay. We again call upon the Syrian authorities to fully co-operate with the OPCW in this regard.
As the Secretary-General has stated, the continuing allegations highlight, yet again, our shared obligation to identify and hold to account those responsible for the use chemical weapons in Syria. We need to heed his call and come together and act. That is why Sweden has engaged in the negotiations on establishing a new independent and impartial attributive mechanism. This Council has a responsibility for protecting the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime and for ensuring accountability. Negotiations need to be in good faith, but with the objective of establishing a truly independent and impartial as well as effective mechanism for accountability.