Madam President,

I would first like to thank the Deputy High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Mr Ebo, for his presentation. I also take note of Mr Katoub's briefing. Switzerland reiterates its full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as the principal guardian of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The integrity and professionalism of the OPCW and all its missions are beyond doubt.

Switzerland regrets that the efforts of the OPCW Technical Secretariat to organise the next round of consultations between the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and the Syrian National Authority have remained unsuccessful since April 2021. The obstacles posed by Syria to the restoration of full cooperation with the OPCW, as well as to the immediate and unlimited deployment of designated personnel on its territory, constitute a serious breach of the obligations contained in Resolution 2118 of this Council.

In this context, Switzerland welcomes the discussion of the resumption of bilateral consultations between the Technical Secretariat and Syria, which took place in Beirut on 22 and 23 June. We hope that this is a first step towards full cooperation between the Syrian authorities and the Technical Secretariat. To this end, we encourage Syria to comply with its obligations under Resolution 2118 of this Council and to provide answers to the 20 points still to be clarified in its initial declaration.

Finally, we are encouraged by the 6-month renewal of the Tripartite Agreement between Syria, the OPCW Technical Secretariat and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). This should facilitate operations on the ground in accordance with the OPCW's working modalities, which were clearly reaffirmed in Resolution 2118.

Madam President,

By unanimously adopting this resolution almost ten years ago, this Council reaffirmed that "the proliferation of chemical weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security". Switzerland recalls that the use of chemical weapons by any actor is prohibited in all circumstances and constitutes a war crime in armed conflicts. It calls on all parties to respect their obligations under this Convention and international humanitarian law.

Finally, Switzerland fully supports the cooperation between the OPCW and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria, which ensures that such crimes are documented and do not go unpunished.

Thank you.

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