New York: Due to persisting gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved, Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons programme still cannot be considered accurate and complete in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, the United Nations (UN) disarmament chief told the Security Council on Wednesday, urging that country to cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) without delay.
Updating the Council on developments over the past month, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu reported that, while Syria has submitted 17 amendments and several supplements to its initial declaration, 20 of the 24 outstanding issues opened by the Declaration Assessment Team in 2014 remain unresolved, involving, among other things, undeclared research, production and/or weaponization of unknown quantities of chemical weapons.
"Full cooperation by the Syrian Arab Republic with the OPCW Technical Secretariat is essential to closing these outstanding issues," she said in a press release on Wednesday.
Aside from not submitting the requested declarations, Syria has also not yet responded to requests from OPCW’s Technical Secretariat for information and documentation on the damage caused to the declared former chemical weapons production facility during the June 8, 2021 attack, or information on the unauthorized movement and remains of two destroyed cylinders related to the April 7, 2018 chemical weapon incident in Douma.
The Technical Secretariat’s attempts since April 2021 to schedule the twenty-fifth round of consultations between Syria and the Declaration Assessment Team in Damascus have been stymied by Syria’s continued refusal of an entry visa for one member of the Assessment Team, she said, adding that its efforts to convene a meeting with Syrian experts at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague in late October 2021 were also unsuccessful.
She urged Syria to allow immediate, unfettered access to the personnel designated by the OPCW Secretariat as soon as possible.
The Technical Secretariat conducted the eighth round of inspections of the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre from December 10-17, 2021, the outcome for which will be reported in due course, she said.
However, Syria has yet to provide sufficient technical information or explanations that would enable the Technical Secretariat to close the issue concerning the detection of a "Schedule 2" chemical at the Centre’s Barzah facilities in November 2018.
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