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16 December 2013 - Syria /chemical weapons - Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, as President of the UN Security Council

(In French and in English)

Bonjour à tous,

Les membres du Conseil de sécurité viennent donc d’entendre le Secrétaire général, qui a présenté les résultats du rapport final de la mission d’enquête sur les allégations d’emploi d’armes chimiques en Syrie, dirigée par le professeur Sellström.

M. Sellström a également participé à ces consultations pour répondre aux questions des membres du Conseil de sécurité sur les résultats de ce rapport.

Ce rapport confirme que des armes chimiques ont été utilisées en Syrie. Le Secrétaire général et les membres du Conseil ont naturellement condamné toute utilisation d’armes chimiques, quelles qu’en soient les circonstances.

Le Secrétaire général et les membres du Conseil ont également appelé à ce que les personnes responsables rendent compte de tels crimes de guerre devant la justice, comme le demande la résolution 2118(2013).

Nous sommes tous également tombés d’accord sur le fait que ce rapport nous rappelle l’urgence de faire aboutir le processus lancé par la résolution 2118(2013) de démantèlement de l’arsenal chimique syrien, sans pour autant perdre de vue l’objectif d’un règlement politique de la crise syrienne et les problèmes humanitaires liés à la crise syrienne.


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Good morning, The members of the Security Council just heard the Secretary General, who presented the results of the fact-finding mission’s final report on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Mr. Sellström participated in these consultations to answer the Security Council’s questions on the results of the report.

As you know, this report confirmed that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The Secretary-General and the Council’s members strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons in any circumstances.

The Secretary-General and the Council’s members have also called upon those responsible to be held accountable for such war crimes before the courts, as requested by resolution 2118 (2013) adopted in September.

Eventually, we also agreed upon the fact that this report reminds us the urgency to ensure the success of the process launched by resolution 2118 (2013) to dismantle the Syrian chemical weapons-arsenal, without losing sight of, on one side, the final objective of a political settlement of the Syrian crisis and, on the other side, about the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Thank you.


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Q: Did the Security Council discuss how to hold responsible those who carried out these chemical attacks?

No, we did not discuss this issue.

Q: The Secretary-general just said that it is essential to reach a cease-fire in Syria before Geneva II conference. Do you share his view and do you expect any action in the Council in this regard, to call the parties in Syria to reach an agreement or to cease fire before Geneva II?

This issue has not been raised in the Council in this precise meeting. Of course, we consider that a cease-fire or at least a decrease of the hostilities would be a positive step to go to the Geneva II conference. But there is no pre-condition for having this conference in the text which has been agreed so far.

Q: Were there discussions in the Council about which side used the weapons, not only in Ghouta but also in Khan Al Assal?

As for Khan Al Assal, the fact is that the mission reached an agreement with the Syrian government very late, three or four months after the Khan Al Assal attack, and the security circumstances did not allow to go to Khan Al Assal.

As for the responsibility, the issue was raised at the initiative of a Security Council member which led to some acrimonious and non-conclusive exchange.

Q: Did the subject of making sure that there were secure paths for the chemical weapons, which have to be gathered to the port and then from the port to the ships, come up? Where there any suggestions by Dr. Sellström?

No. It is not the job of Dr. Sellström. He is not in charge of the implementation of resolution 2118. He was inquiring and investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons on a technical basis, so as to tell us whether the chemical weapons had been used and not who did it. It is different. As Dr. Sellström said himself, there is a firewall between his mission and the mission in charge of the implementation of resolution 2118.


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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU