Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed that Syria will remain committed to close cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with regard to solving all pending technical issues connected to the so-called “chemical weapons program” in Syria.
Jaafari was speaking at at a press conference on Wednesday following the U.N. Security Council's closed-door consultations session on the Special Coordinator for the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission, Sigrid Kaag video briefing.
He said the chemical program has become a technical one and the latest developments are clearly not political, he said, especially following Syria joining the OPCW.
He reiterated that Kaag, in her briefing to the OPCW in the Hague and the U.N. Security Council, has pointed out that the 12 facilities and the tunnels in Syria are all empty and that the issues related to them are technical issues.
Jaafari referred to the Syrian government’s letter of January 8, 2012, in which it informed the U.N. Secretariat that armed terrorist organizations used chemical weapons against Syrians, particularly after they seized a chlorine gas factory to the east of Aleppo.
The Syrian Representative reiterated that terrorist organizations stole about 200 tons of these materials from the factory, asserting that Syria warned against the possibility of using chlorine gas by the terrorists, which unfortunately happened many times.
Jaafari stressed that the Syrian government strongly condemns as “a heinous crime” the use of chemical weapons, calling for holding the perpetrators of this crime to account.
Regarding the report presented by the fact-finding team and the allegations on the use of the chlorine gas in Syria, Jaafari stressed that the report is not " a consensus nor final’ as it is still under debate by the Executive Council of the OPCW in The Hague.
He criticized some U.N. Security Council’s members who attempted to put pressures on Syria through keeping this file open.
”We cooperate with Mrs. Kaag and we will continue cooperation with the fact-finding team,”Jaafari confirmed, dismissing the presence of any chemical weapons program in Syria yet.
He said that dealing with pending technical issues, namely the destruction of the 12 production facilities and the initial announcement connected to the chemical weapon program in Syria, are related to the Syrian government with close cooperation with the OPCW.
Regarding the destruction of these facilities, he said, "we have a plan in this regard which is scheduled to start this month, specifically this week".
Jaafari pointed out that the UNSC member states which have repeatedly accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons did not call to investigate the use of chemical materials by the terrorist organizations which themselves contradicted the Council resolution No. 1540 for 2004,.
He also clarified that the last use of chemicals by the ISIS terrorist organization was in the town of Ayn al-Arab, where the chemical attacks claimed civilians’ lives, saying that we have sent a message in this regard to the committee of resolution No. 1540.
Answering questions, Jaafari said the Council listened to a briefing via video from Kaag as an advisor since she is no longer Special Coordinator for the OPCW-UN Joint Mission.
"The change in its capacity indicates that the political issue has ended in the file of the so- called chemical weapons in Syria and what remains is purely technical issues addressed in The Hague,” the Permanent representative added.
On what is happening in the area of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Syrian Golan, Jaafari said "we have not heard anything from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) for two years respectively".
"The Nusra Front is still carrying out operations in the area of UNDOF backed by the Israeli occupation as its members are receiving medical care in the Israeli hospitals, he said, clarifying that Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, the Secretary General and his aides did not touch upon the matter," he said.
He made it clear that their main interest is Syria and the situation in it, paying no heed to what is going on in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Israeli criminal practices in al-Aqsa Mosque.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer