Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The Syrian regime is failing to meet its chemical weapons obligations and is a serious threat to international security – UK statement at the Security Council [August 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 8 August 2023.

Statement by Deputy Political Coordinator Tom Phipps at the UN Security Council meeting on Syria.

Thank you, President.

Let me begin by thanking Deputy High Representative Mr Ebo for his briefing and in particular Dr Katoub, not only for his briefing today, but also for his work responding to the horrific chemical attack in Ghouta in 2013 and for his ongoing efforts to fight impunity on behalf of all of the victims of chemical weapons.

Colleagues, Dr Katoub’s briefing is a reminder of why this issue deserves the Council’s ongoing attention.

In the decade since Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, internationally mandated organisations have confirmed that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people on at least nine occasions.

As Dr Katoub said, there have been many more attacks.

The human impact of these attacks has been horrific – the UN Joint Investigative Mechanism and OPCW’s reports have provided undeniable and direct evidence of the Syrian state’s shocking track record of murdering its own civilians using chemical weapons.

We collectively owe it to the thousands of victims to pursue justice and hold those responsible for these crimes to account.

President, Syria continues to fail to meet its obligations under resolution 2118 and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Despite concerted efforts by the OPCW to get to the truth, Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile declaration is still not accurate.

Syria has failed to declare and destroy all its chemical weapons and continues to present a serious threat to regional as well as international security.

We therefore once again reiterate our calls on the Syrian regime to fulfil its obligations under the convention and under resolution 2118 and to engage meaningfully with the OPCW. It must fully declare and destroy all aspects of its chemical weapons programme.

It is our collective responsibility to defend and uphold the integrity of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the non-proliferation architecture, and the global consensus that these weapons should never be used.

Thank you.