Chinese envoy calls for prudent approach to issue of Syria’s chemical weapons

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — A Chinese envoy on Friday called for a prudent approach to the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons.

All parties should approach the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons with openness, transparency and inclusiveness, and respect facts and science, said Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

In recent years, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has released a number of reports on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Many independent experts have raised doubts from a technical point of view and pointed out contradictions in these reports, to which the OPCW should come up with professional, science-based and convincing responses, he told a Security Council meeting.

China opposes jumping into conclusions or even rushing into action when there are still many question marks, he said.

Some Security Council members simply refuse to listen to divergent views, hell-bent on pursuing pressure and attribution. They would label anyone who begs to differ as undermining the authority of the OPCW. Such conduct is utterly irresponsible, unconstructive, and politically driven, he said.

All parties should encourage the OPCW to maintain good communication and cooperation with the Syrian government and take an objective view of Syria’s efforts, said Geng.

Recently, the Syrian government and the OPCW Technical Secretariat held their 23rd round of technical consultations, during which all the outstanding issues regarding the initial declaration were discussed, among which three were closed. Syria once again expressed its readiness to maintain communication and cooperation with the Technical Secretariat. The constructive attitude of Syria and the outcomes of their exchanges should be recognized, he said.

All states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) should help bring the issue of accountability for the use of chemical weapons back to the framework of the convention, and safeguard the authority and integrity of the convention, said Geng.

Some countries have weaponized the OPCW, the implementing body for the CWC, to undermine and suppress other countries, substituting vote for dialogue, which leads to deep divisions, he said.

The working methods of the Investigation and Identification Team whose inception is enabled by those countries are opaque, and its reports do not reflect the integrity of the chain of evidence and therefore highly controversial, he said.

Pending a solution to these problems, those countries, during the 94th session of the Executive Council of the OPCW, once again pushed for a vote on the draft decision on Syria’s chemical weapons issue. Such an approach is not constructive at all. If this is allowed to continue over time, the work of the OPCW is set to be more politicized, he warned.

China calls on OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias and the Technical Secretariat to take steps to promote dialogue and communication among states parties to the CWC and conduct their work in an impartial and independent manner, return to the tradition of consensus-based decision-making and truly safeguard the authority of the convention and the long-term interests of the OPCW, he said.

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