Ban Ki-moon's speeches


Remarks to the press following adoption of Security Council vote to rid Syria of chemical weapons

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 27 September 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a historic day.

For many months, I have said that the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria required a firm, united and decisive response.

Tonight, the international community has delivered.

I am pleased that the Security Council has found the unity to address the most significant use of chemical weapons in decades.

I welcome the commitment to safeguard and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. The United Nations stands ready to support this plan in every way possible.

Securing and destroying weapons of mass destruction in a civil war will be daunting. We will be working together with the OPCW – the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons -- on the modalities to deliver quickly and effectively based on our respective strengths. This will be reflected in the proposals I will make to the Security Council in the period ahead.

The Government of Syria must honour its commitments. All sides must help ensure the safety and security of the inspectors.

As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns.

A red light for one form of weapons does not mean a green light for others. This is not a license to kill with conventional weapons.

All the violence must stop. All the guns must fall silent.

A key building block for peace is now in place with the Council’s endorsement of the Geneva Communiqué. It provides the basis for a peaceful transition. We must move as quickly as possible to the talks, and to ensure their success.

I have just told the Council that we are aiming for a conference in mid-November.

In the meantime Mr. [Lakhdar] Brahimi, Joint Special Representative, will launch all necessary preparations to ensure success of this conference.

The United Nations is ready to host the Geneva II Conference. It is time for the parties to focus on how to build the peaceful, democratic future Syria needs. All those with influence on the parties must use that influence now. It is critical and crucially important to keep up the momentum.

Today can and must be a stepping stone to the peace of Syria.

Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General. How are you going to get the opposition parties together, and is President [Bashar al-] Assad going to be part of the political transition in Syria? Thank you.

SG: The opposition should be represented in single delegation. They should present their coherent and united voices of the Syrians inside and outside. This is very important. The Geneva Communiqué of June 30 last year clearly states that the Syrian Government and opposition should be represented in one delegation.

And about your second question, we will work very hard to make this Conference be convened as soon as possible.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, thank you very much for the briefing. Do you see something in this that will hold accountable those who are responsible? It says accountability. What form would that be?

It is a firm and consistent position and policy of the United Nations that those perpetrators who have committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, should be held accountable, and I’m sure that the international community will continue to discuss how this justice system can be brought [to bear].

Thank you very much. Thank you.