Check against delivery.

Madam President,

At the outset, I would like to thank Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu for her briefing today.

As has been pointed out by previous speakers, today marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ entry into force. This convention is a global achievement that has contributed to the destruction of 99% of chemical weapons stockpiles in the world. For this reason, it is imperative for us to build on these international efforts. In this regard, we welcome today’s press statement to commemorate this anniversary.

On this occasion, the UAE would also like to reiterate its principled position of rejecting and condemning the use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances. The use of these weapons constitutes a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and international law and poses a serious threat to international peace and security.

Madam President,

Making any tangible progress on the chemical weapons file related to the Syrian crisis requires addressing existing gaps. We encourage a constructive and meaningful dialogue between the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Syrian Arab Republic. In this regard, we look forward to the anticipated meeting between the Syrian Foreign Minister and the Director-General of the Organization, as well as the limited consultations between Syria and the Declaration Assessment Team of the OPCW to be held in Lebanon. We urge both sides to work together to make progress and to consider all available alternatives to facilitate the Team’s visit to Damascus.

 Despite the progress made towards the complete elimination of chemical weapons, the threats they pose are still present. In particular, when acquired by terrorist groups, such as Da’esh, they pose a grave threat to international peace and security.  As we have recently seen in Al-Hasakah, terrorist groups continue to develop their methods of attacks and seek to obtain advanced weapons, such as chemical weapons, to achieve their nefarious goals. Accordingly, we stress the importance of continuing the fight against Da’esh in Syria and elsewhere to prevent it from rearranging its ranks or acquiring chemical weapons.

In conclusion, the UAE stresses the importance of making progress on the chemical weapons file, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2118, as well as in all other files concerned with resolving the Syrian crisis.

Thank you, Madam President.