Mr. President.

First of all, I would like to wish you all the best for your presidency. I would also like to express my gratitude to all members of the Council for the kind words of welcome addressed to Switzerland and the other incoming states. We are looking forward to working with you and wish you every success.

I thank Mr Ebo for his detailed presentation.

As we begin our term in the Security Council, Switzerland wishes to affirm its unwavering commitment to respect for international law, including the Chemical Weapons Convention. Throughout our presence in the Council, we will work to support this important pillar of our collective security.

Ratified by almost all States, including Syria in 2013, the Convention offers overall protection against the threats and devastating effects of chemical weapons. However, over the past decade, its obligations have been repeatedly violated, particularly in Syria. We call on Syria to comply with its obligations as a State Party, and in accordance with Resolution 2118 of the Security Council.

Among these obligations, Syria must provide full cooperation to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The monitoring activities of this Organisation play a key role in achieving the common goal of states to completely exclude the possibility of the use of chemical weapons.

To achieve this, the Organisation's fact-finding missions and investigation and identification teams must be able to operate on the ground. Their work is fundamental, their integrity and professionalism are beyond doubt. Switzerland wishes to emphasise its full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and its support for all its missions.

Since April 2021, the experts of the Organisation's declaration assessment team have not been able to enter Syria. This is of great concern to us. We call on Syria to allow the team unhindered access to its territory so that it can carry out the necessary investigations and verifications.

We are still not certain that the chemical weapons stockpiles have been completely eliminated. There are currently 20 outstanding issues in this regard, and only 4 have been resolved in almost ten years. All these obstacles must be removed without delay, otherwise Syria's initial declaration cannot be verified.

Mr. President,

Resolution 2118 was adopted unanimously in 2013. Through it, the Security Council made a clear commitment against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. For almost ten years, regular meetings of this Council have served to remind us of a central issue: Preventing the development, production, stockpiling, use and transfer of such weapons and ensuring their destruction. Those who use them must be brought to justice; their impunity is unacceptable. This principle remains crucial today.

Switzerland will continue to take the strongest possible stand against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances. Our collective security and the credibility of the instruments of the disarmament and non-proliferation architecture that guarantee it are at stake.

Faced with the frightening images of the effects of chemical weapons, we can only say: Never again.

I thank you.