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Security Council – Meeting in Arria Formula on “Implementation of UNSCR 2118: Upholding the Authority of the OPCW”

Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Meeting in Arria Formula on “Implementation of UNSCR 2118: Upholding the Authority of the OPCW” —

Mr President,

we appreciate the opportunity to offer our remarks on the state of implementation of Security Council Resolution 2118. Italy is deeply concerned about the re-emergence, starting in 2013, of the use of chemical weapons in different geographical areas, particularly in conflict-ridden countries, such as the Syrian Arab Republic.

Italy’s policy has always been centered on a firm rebuke of the use of chemical weapons, anywhere, at any time, by anyone, and under any circumstance. And we believe, without exception, that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

Since the creation of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission mechanism in 2014, OPCW inspectors have attested to numerous cases of use of chemical weapons in Syria. More recently, the first report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team to the OPCW Executive Council and to the UN Secretary-General, regrettably confirmed the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Air Force on 8 April 2020.

This meets with Italy’s strong condemnation and, conversely, with Italy’s strong support for the Executive Council Decision, taken in July 2020, to address the possession and use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic and to urge the Country to adopt all measures required by this Decision.

The use of chemical weapons must not be tolerated. The end of impunity is crucial for credible, effective deterrence, and we will continue to support efforts towards ensuring accountability for those responsible of these heinous crimes. In this spirit, Italy has joined and actively supports the work of the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.

Italy also remains strongly committed to supporting the Chemical Weapons Convention and the work of the OPCW. We reiterate our full confidence in the technical expertise, objectivity, impartiality and independence of the OPCW Technical Secretariat and its Investigation and Identification Team.

The international community, as a whole, must share the responsibility to enforce the prohibition of chemical weapons and uphold the global chemical non-proliferation regime, which is a basic building block for international peace and security.

I thank you.