Thank you, Mr President,

And I would like to thank the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms Nakamitsu, for her presentation.

In its last statement to the Security Council on this issue in March, Switzerland welcomed the holding of the 26th round of consultations between the OPCW's Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and the Syrian government.

Since then, it has been possible to resolve three of the twenty points still outstanding in relation to Syria's initial declaration. We take note that a 27th round of consultations took place in Damascus last month, and look forward to hearing the results.

Switzerland supports this recent resumption of cooperation between the OPCW and Syria after many months of interruption. This is a crucial step towards full clarification of the seventeen points that remain unresolved, which is in line with Syria's commitments in this regard.

Switzerland recalls that verifiable, tangible and scientifically plausible answers to these points are one of the conditions for Syria to regain its rights and privileges as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

To achieve this objective, Switzerland has full confidence in the OPCW and salutes the meticulous work, professionalism and integrity of all its teams, including the fact-finding missions and the investigation and identification teams, which must be able to operate without hindrance in the field. Their work is fundamental, and their integrity and professionalism are beyond doubt.

Furthermore, Switzerland is concerned about the threat emanating from non-state actors using chemical weapons, as revealed in February by the fourth report of the OPCW's Identification and Investigation Team (IIT) on a chemical weapons attack carried out by the ‘Islamic State’ organization in Marea. Switzerland has condemned this attack and demands that those responsible be brought to justice.

Mr President,

With Resolution 2118, adopted unanimously in 2013, this Security Council made a clear commitment against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. For more than eleven years, regular meetings of this Council have served as a reminder of the importance of preventing the development, production, stockpiling, use and transfer of such weapons and of ensuring their destruction.

Resolution 2118 also reflects the firm conviction of the Security Council and the international community that ‘those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria must be held accountable’.

The fight against impunity must help to ensure that the ban on chemical weapons is respected and that they are never used again, in Syria or anywhere else in the world. In this respect, we welcome the formal cooperation between the OPCW and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria.

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.

Thank you.

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