India has told the UN that concerns and allegations over the use of chemical weapons in Syria should be addressed through consultation among all concerned parties, cautioning that "politicisation" of the issue is neither helpful nor productive.
"Regarding allegations of use of chemical weapons in Syria and investigations conducted, India has consistently underlined the need for an impartial and objective investigation into any alleged use of chemical weapons, scrupulously following the provisions and procedures laid down in the Convention," India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said on Tuesday at the UN Security Council meeting on Syria Chemical Weapons.
"Any concerns should be addressed on the basis of consultation among all concerned parties. In our view, politicisation of the issue is neither helpful nor productive," Tirumurti said.
The UNSC virtual meeting on Syria Chemical Weapons was India's first open meeting in the Council as the country began its tenure as non-permanent member for the 2021-22 term.
High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu also addressed the meeting. The Council congratulated and welcomed the new incoming members - India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway.
"India remains concerned about the possibility of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorist organisations and individuals. The world cannot afford to give these terrorists any sanctuary or dilute its fight against these terrorist groups," Tirumurti said.
He also underlined that India attaches high importance to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is a unique, non-discriminatory disarmament instrument and serves as a model for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
"India has been firmly opposed to any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, and under any circumstances. We strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons; and there can be no justification for their use," he said.
The 15-nation Security Council considered the latest report on the activities of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in implementing Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) and the relevant provisions of the OPCW Executive Council decisions in relation to the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.
Through the resolution, the Security Council had called for the full implementation of the decision of the OPCW Executive Council, which contains special procedures for the expeditious and verifiable destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.
Tirumurti said India has consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria.
He noted that India has also contributed to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria through humanitarian assistance and human resource development.
Tirumurti voiced India's appreciation for the commitment of the OPCW Technical Secretariat in performing its responsibilities during the challenging times of the pandemic.
India has taken note of the findings mentioned in the two recent reports of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria.
He said India also takes note that OPCW is in the process of analysing the information collected from its most recent deployments for cases related to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
We note with satisfaction that three issues relating to Syria's initial declaration have been resolved during the last six months, he said.
India encouraged continued engagement and cooperation between Syria and the OPCW Technical Secretariat towards an early resolution of all outstanding issues. India has provided a financial contribution of one million dollars to the OPCW Trust Fund for activities relating to destruction of chemical stockpiles and related facilities in Syria, he said.
Tirumurti also voiced support for both the Geneva and the Astana processes for an expeditious resolution of conflict in Syria.
Nakamitsu said that there is no justification for the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances.
The use of such weapons with impunity and without accountability is a threat to international peace and security and a danger to us all. It is, therefore, imperative to hold accountable all those who have used chemical weapons, she said.
She added that identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved have brought into question the true extent of the elimination of chemical weapons during Syria's conflict. The declaration that Syria had submitted on its chemical weapons status cannot be considered accurate and complete in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Until these outstanding issues are closed, the international community cannot have full confidence that the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons programme has been eliminated, she added.
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