Chemical Weapon Use Must Not Become ‘New Normal’, First Committee Speakers Warn, Issuing Calls for New Solutions to Combat Bioterrorism Threats

GA/DIS/3556
18 October 2016
Seventy-first Session, 14th Meeting (AM)

Chemical Weapon Use Must Not Become ‘New Normal’, First Committee Speakers Warn, Issuing Calls for New Solutions to Combat Bioterrorism Threats

Speakers expressed their deep concern with the danger of non-State actors and terrorist groups obtaining and using chemical and biological weapons, but differed on ways to approach the issue, as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) concluded its thematic debate on weapons of mass destruction this morning.

Amid reports of terrorist groups using sulphur mustard and other chemical weapons and persistent, looming threats that the technology required to build those arms could reach armed non-State actors, speakers raised an alarm for a need to find swift, preventive solutions.  Reflecting a view shared by many delegations, Japan’s representative said “we must definitely prevent chemical weapons and toxic chemicals from falling into the wrong hands”.

Throughout the thematic debate, delegates shared suggestions on how to do so.  The speaker from the Russian Federation drew the Committee’s attention to a proposal made in March by his Minister for Foreign Affairs that envisioned the Conference on Disarmament negotiating a stand-alone instrument to deal with bioterrorism.

Some speakers voiced their support for existing programmes and instruments.  Nigeria’s representative welcomed meetings on the issue between the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Open-ended Working Group on Terrorism.

Meanwhile, the representative of the United States pointed out the opportunity to address the bioterrorism threat in the context of existing international frameworks at the eighth Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, to be held in November in Geneva.  Expressing appreciation for preparations being made for the review conference, Pakistan’s delegate said the key tools for preventing non-State actors from acquiring, producing or using chemical and biological weapons included national physical protection efforts, international assistance and capacity building.

Other concerns were spotlighted during the debate, including the need for States parties to fully implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction.  Many speakers put a spotlight on Syria, citing the most recent report of the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism on the use of chemical weapons in that country.  Insisting that those that had been held responsible were also held accountable, many speakers agreed that the international community must ensure chemical weapon use did not become the “new normal”.

Calling the biological and chemical weapons conventions excellent models for other disarmament instruments, several delegates said States parties must respect all of their provisions.  Speakers, including the representative of Cuba, emphasized the importance of open access to chemical and biological material, technology and knowledge for peaceful purposes.

Also today, the Committee began its thematic debate on disarmament aspects of outer space.  The representative of Indonesia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern about developments related to anti-ballistic missile systems and the threat of the militarization of outer space.  In that regard, she called for the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament toward a legally binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

Also delivering statements during the thematic debates were the representatives of India, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland, Algeria, Libya, Mexico, Egypt, China, Iran, Spain, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Qatar and Lithuania.

The representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria, Iran, United States, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Cuba spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 19 October, to resume its thematic debate on disarmament aspects of outer space.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its thematic discussion on other weapons of mass destruction and to begin its thematic discussion on disarmament aspects of outer space.  For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3545 of 3 October.

Thematic Debate on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

ROBERT WOOD (United States) cited the report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, which had found that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces were responsible for two instances of confirmed chemical weapons use in Syria and that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) was responsible for one additional incident.  The international community must collectively condemn in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and ISIL and hold the perpetrators to account.  It must also insist that the Syrian regime address outstanding concerns about its chemical weapons declaration, which the OPCW had tried for more than two years to clarify, without success.  Turning to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, he said its upcoming review conference was taking place at a sobering time.  The threats of chemical and biological terrorism was real and they should be addressed in the context of existing international frameworks, he said, adding that the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference in November was an opportunity to do that.

D.B. VENKATESH VARMA (India) said his Government attached high importance to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction and the Biological Weapons Convention.  Their success was a model for other weapons of mass destruction.  Meanwhile, India had a large growing chemical industry and had participated in a large number of OPCW inspections.  The use of chemical weapons anywhere, under any circumstances, could not be justified.  India had contributed to efforts to destroy chemical weapons in Syria and welcomed the progress made so far in their destruction.  Expressing deep concerns about the acquisition of chemical weapons and their delivery systems by terrorists in Iraq and Syria, he said decisive actions must be taken.  Welcoming the destruction of the remaining stockpiles in Libya, he said India’s involvement in various initiatives had demonstrated its willingness to build broad understanding and agreements that would benefit all States parties.

VINICIO MATI (Italy) said the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery posed a growing threat to international peace and security.  Despite ongoing efforts, including non-proliferation programmes and networks, major challenges remained, including the risk of terrorist groups gaining access to those arms and the successful establishment of effective export controls.  Those obstacles were reminders of the importance of achieving the universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention.  In that vein, he called on all States not yet party to those instruments to ratify or accede to them without delay and without conditions.

TOSHIO SANO (Japan), highlighting the increased number of threats that had been made by non-State actors and terrorists, emphasized that “we must definitely prevent chemical weapons and toxic chemicals from falling into the wrong hands.”  Based on the conclusions of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, those responsible must be held accountable.  Japan was ready to work in the Security Council to that end and would contribute to finding a way to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Noting Japan’s efforts to fulfil its Chemical Weapons Convention obligations, he reported consistent progress in destroying abandoned chemical weapons in China.  He stressed the importance of universalizing the Convention, welcomed Angola’s recent accession and offered Japan’s cooperation and assistance for States parties in need.

TEHMINA JANJUA (Pakistan), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed appreciation for the preparatory work that had been done for the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference.  Welcoming milestones that had been achieved in the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, she also appreciated OPCW and the Joint Investigation Mechanism efforts.  National physical protection, international assistance and capacity-building were key tools to prevent non-State actors from acquiring, producing or using chemical and biological weapons, she said.

HENK COR VAN DER KWAST (Netherlands) expressed dismay over the Committee being forced, once again, to consider the issue of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.  Despite two years of intensive consultations, many outstanding questions remained about the accuracy and completeness of Syria’s declaration.  Syria must convince the international community that it had fully declared its entire chemical weapons programme and that it had been completely and irreversibly dismantled.  The Joint Investigative Mechanism’s third report had concluded that Syria had been responsible for two chemical weapon attacks on its own population.   “We are no longer talking about alleged use, we are talking about confirmed use,” he said, emphasizing that the international community must react and respond decisively to that violation of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013).

Mr. WROBLEWSKII (Poland), while expressing support for OPCW efforts to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, said norms concerning the use of those arms had unfortunately been seriously undermined over the past two years.  Welcoming Security Council resolution 2235 (2015) for establishing the Joint Investigative Mechanism to identify those involved in chemical weapons use in Syria, he said its current report was worrisome.  Within that context, Poland would introduce a draft resolution on Chemical Weapons Convention implementation, which would call for a clear recognition of the role of the Chemical Weapons Convention and its universalization.  Encouraging Member States to adopt the draft text by consensus, he said the use of chemical weapons was no longer an abstract idea and the international community must therefore send a strong signal that those who used such weapons would be held accountable.

VLADIMIR YERMAKOV (Russian Federation) said chemical weapons had been used by ISIL and other terrorist groups, with reports having shown that they had seized chemical plants and received documents on producing such weapons.  It was very sad that some Western countries were attempting to attribute some unjustified claims on the Government of Syria, which was fighting international terrorism on its territory.  Recalling a proposal made by the Russian Federation’s Minister for Foreign Affairs that the Conference on Disarmament negotiate an international bioterrorism convention to add to existing instruments, he said negotiations should begin promptly with the involvement of all States, international organizations and other interested parties.  Turning to the upcoming Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, he said the Russian Federation had made several concrete proposals, including the establishment of mobile biomedical teams and a scientific advisory committee.  On the situation in Syria, he said the chemical weapons dossier on that country could no longer be deemed an emergency and should instead be considered on the OPCW’s regular agenda, without politicizing the matter.  All responsible States should work together on real, existing problems, not on creating new ones.

SIMBONGILE MANCOTYWA-KUMSHA (South Africa) welcomed significant progress achieved by the destruction of chemical weapons and related facilities around the world.  Much work remained to be done, however, with many old and abandoned chemical weapons still posing a risk to people and the environment.  She expressed concern at reports of the alleged used of chemical weapons, including by non-State actors, and welcomed progress made towards the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.  OPCW must maintain a primary short-term focus on the complete disarmament and elimination of all declared chemical weapons under strict international control in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, she said.  Turning to the Biological Weapons Convention, she said its important provisions could strengthen the international community’s ability to combat the grave impact of related diseases on people and development.

GUY POLLARD (United Kingdom) said the ongoing use of chemical weapons in Syria was appalling, with more than 100 reported allegations since the First Committee’s 2015 session.  All credible allegations must be investigated, he said, emphasizing that the Syrian regime’s use of chlorine-laden barrel bombs breached Security Council resolutions 2118 (2013), 2209 (2015) and 2235 (2015).  Committee members had long said those responsible for using chemical weapons must be held accountable.  Now that the use of such weapons had clearly been attributed to a Member State, the Committee must act on those words.  To do otherwise risked normalizing the use of chemical weapons and undermining the credibility of the United Nations and the OPCW.  Beyond the use of chemical weapons in Syria, he was concerned about serious gaps in Syria’s Chemical Weapons Convention declaration.  Unless the international community responded robustly, the world was likely to see the retention of those capabilities and the continued use of toxic chemicals as weapons, he said.

M. SHAMEEM AHSAN (Bangladesh), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country remained committed to a complete cessation of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.  OPCW inspections had already been conducted in his country’s declared industrial facilities using certain “dual use” chemicals, he said, noting that Bangladesh had hosted the Asian Chemical Congress in 2015 to promote the safe management and storage for related materials for peaceful uses.  On the Biological Weapons Convention, Bangladesh was currently developing national legislation to implement the instrument.  Going forward, the Convention Implementation Support Unit must be strengthened so it could effectively respond to State parties’ various capacity-building needs, especially in resource-constrained settings.

MATTHIAS HALTER (Switzerland) said his country had been actively involved in both the Joint Investigative Mechanism and its fact-finding mission, with Spiez Laboratory providing support.  Switzerland demanded that the Security Council refer the situation to the International Criminal Court to prosecute those crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.  Regarding the Biological Weapons Convention, he said the intersessional process had been established to strengthen its effectiveness and improve implementation.  But, the current set-up had not matched expectations, he said, calling for the serious consideration of proposals, such as providing the Meeting of States Parties with the authority to take decisions on clearly defined issues or replacing the annual Meeting of Experts with dedicated gatherings on key topics.

IAN MCCONVILLE (Australia), drawing attention to the Government of Syria and its continuous violations of international law, called on the international community to redouble efforts to eliminate chemical weapons, prevent their acquisition and production and to hold perpetrators accountable.  For its part, Australia was working with others to ensure the realization of OPCW priorities, in particular preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons, with one effort focused on the use in law enforcement scenarios of aerosol chemicals that affected the central nervous system.  The Australia Group’s 42 members were committed to harmonizing export controls to prevent rogue States and terrorists from obtaining what they needed to build chemical weapons.  Among other things, Australia was hosting the first skills training course in the region to help to build a response capability to alleged uses of a biological weapon.

PATRICIA O’BRIEN (Ireland) said that more than a century after the first use of a weapon of mass destruction, it was beyond time to consign those arms to history.  The situation in Syria was a compelling argument for action.  While welcoming Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, her Government was greatly disturbed by evidence of their continued use of such arms.  With respect to the Biological Weapons Convention, she said the upcoming review conference provided an invaluable opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen commitments to the instrument.  Recent developments, including the outbreak of the Ebola virus, had shown that biological threats did not discriminate among victims, nor did they respect borders.  In that respect, Member States must do everything possible to ensure effective disease monitoring, detection, control and prevention, she said.

MOUNIA IOUALALEN (Algeria) said weapons of mass destruction constituted a grave threat to mankind and their total elimination was a priority.  The Chemical Weapons Convention was the sole instrument that banded together a whole category of weapons, she said, calling on States parties to speed up the destruction of their stockpiles within the stated timeframe and rejecting the use of such weapons by any party for any reason.  Underlining the importance of concluding a legally binding instrument to strengthen the implementation of the Convention’s provisions, she said efforts were also needed to stop the emergence of new weapons of mass destruction.  Such initiatives would be helped by the revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament.  Algeria supported nuclear-weapon-free zones, she said, expressing concern about the obstacles preventing the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.

GIUMA FARES (Libya), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, reviewed recent progress to date, including the destruction of the Government’s sulphur mustard stockpile and ensuring that dual-use precursors were not diverted for other purposes, protecting its people and the environment.  In 2016, the authorities turned to the international community and the Security Council for assistance in transporting remaining stockpiles out of the country by sea in accordance with international standards and in the presence of Libyan representatives.  In August, about 500 tonnes of precursors had been exported on Danish vessels to Germany.  Those efforts had been carried out very professionally, he said, thanking local and international technicians for their contributions.

Mr. LOMONACO (Mexico) said the provisions underpinning the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention should be strengthened, with the upcoming review conference seeking at least minimum agreement on creating implementation tools.  For Mexico, the Biological Weapons Convention should create synergies with other entities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), thus ensuring the Convention’s full and effective implementation while helping to formulate public policy.  Expressing concern about recent Joint Investigative Mechanism reports, he said the use of chemical weapons by any actor under any circumstances was prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention and must be condemned by the international community.

TAREK AHMED MAHFOUZ (Egypt) said a contributing factor to the universality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons would be Israel joining as a non-nuclear-weapon party, which would also strengthen regional and international security and be an unprecedented opportunity to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  He reminded the international community of its responsibilities in holding a conference that had been postponed since 2012 to establish such a zone.  Over the past decade, the world had become a more complicated place, he said, noting that the reach of terrorist groups was increasing, including their use of chemical weapons, and causing great suffering while demonstrating the enormity of the threats faced by the region and the world.

CHUNJIE LI (China) said his Government attached great importance to the Chemical Weapons Convention and had provided assistance, experts and facilities aimed at destroying such weapons.  However, abandoned chemical weapons were more harmful than stockpiles, he said, noting that Japan’s abandoned chemical weapons had been discovered in over 90 locations in China.  The destruction of Japan’s abandoned chemical weapons had affected the core credibility of the Convention.  He expressed regret over Japan’s failure to complete the destruction of its abandoned chemical weapons by the stated deadline and encouraged them to speed up the process.  Turning to the Biological Weapons Convention, he said the best way to enhance its effectiveness was to reach a legally binding protocol for the implementation of all its provisions.

SEYED MOHAMMAD ALI ROBATJAZI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his Government strongly rejected the abuse of international instruments banning weapons of mass destruction in order to limit the transfer between States parties of technology, knowledge and material for peaceful purposes.  He called for a halt to such limitations and for international cooperation to be promoted instead.  While chemical weapons had been used in Syria and Iraq by terrorists, Iran remained the main victim of those inhumane weapons in contemporary history, he said, recalling the use of chemical warfare agents during the war between Iran and Iraq.  Iraq’s armed forces could not have produced such inhumane weapons without the help of certain Western countries, particularly those with permanent seats in the Security Council, he said.  Iran supported full implementation and universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention and urged all non-parties, in particular the Israeli regime, to accede to it without further delay.

JULIO HERRÁIZ (Spain) called on Syria to clarify doubts that had been raised by the Joint Investigative Mechanism and to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on Chemical Weapons.  Preventing access to weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors and terrorist groups in line with Security Council resolutions was essential.  As Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), Spain was fully committed to those resolutions.  The comprehensive review of the 1540 Committee’s work was an opportunity to draft a new Council resolution and to strengthen the application of resolution 1540 (2004).  Universalization and the effective implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention needed to be promoted, he said, adding that Spain would, at the upcoming review conference, focus on transparency and cooperation among States parties.

KIM IN-CHUL (Republic of Korea) said the conventions on biological and chemical weapons served as the core pillars of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  With rapid advances in and wider availability of biotechnology and life sciences, the Biological Weapons Convention faced unique challenges.  At the same time, it was important for Member States to take advantage of the upcoming review conference in meeting emerging challenges.  The establishment of a more structured and sustainable science and technology review process was needed to introduce a more relevant technical foundation to the Convention.

RAUF ALP DENKTAŞ (Turkey) recognized the importance of strengthening international efforts to prevent States and non-State actors from acquiring and using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.  While describing the Chemical Weapons Convention as one of the most valuable instruments, he stressed that making progress hinged on its implementation.  In addition to banning the use of toxic chemicals as weapons, the Convention required that States parties to chemically disarm by destroying any stockpiles of those weapons.  Despite positive developments in Libya, gaps and inconsistencies remained in the Syrian regime’s declaration.  “We are seriously concerned and believe that there needs to be accountability for the violation of the Convention by a State party,” he said, emphasizing that the use of such weapons could not become the “new normal”.

LILIANNE SÁNCHEZ RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) said, as a State not possessing any type of weapons of mass destruction, her country firmly supported the complete prohibition and elimination of those arms.  The eighth Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference in November was an ideal forum to resume negotiations on a legally binding protocol to strengthen the instrument, with a view to having a stronger convention with a verification mechanism.  The destruction of all categories of weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention must be completed as soon possible, with a plan of action to ensure the implementation of Article XI in regards to international cooperation and assistance.  At the same time, restrictions that had been imposed by some countries on others were unacceptable and should be revoked.  Selective and discriminatory policies only served to weaken the United Nations role in its fight against weapons of mass destruction in all their forms.

AHMAD MOHAMED AL-THANI (Qatar) said resolution 1540 (2004) was an important addition to binding instruments that were being used by the international community.  The Chemical Weapons Convention was one of the most important global treaties and had become a symbol of respect for international law.  It also served as a foundation of principles for perpetrators to be held accountable for their actions.  Indeed, impunity must not be allowed, he said, noting that the Joint Investigative Mechanism report had found that chemical weapons had been used in Syria, with responsibility for at least two cases resting on the Syrian regime and another on ISIL.  Terrorist groups added a very serious dimension to the use of such weapons, he said, emphasizing that the world must continue to hunt down such weapons to improve security in the region.

ROSITA ŠORYTĖ (Lithuania) emphasized the need to address challenges resulting from the dumping of chemical munitions at sea.  On the margins of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), Lithuania was submitting a draft resolution on cooperation measures to increase awareness of the environmental effects of that practice.  Lithuania was extremely concerned by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and its spread to States, non-State actors and terrorist groups.  Concerning allegations of Syria’s continued use of chemical weapons, including chlorine used in attacks, strong action was required.  Attribution of responsibility was important and perpetrators must be brought to justice, she concluded.

ABEL ADELAKUN AYOKO (Nigeria) said troubling reports of chemical weapon use in Syria must be scrupulously investigated.  Stressing a need to highlight growing concerns regarding the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors, he welcomed meetings between the Expert Group of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) and the Open-Ended Working Group on Terrorism of the OPCW Executive Council.  He also called for the continued sponsorship of States parties, particularly from Africa, to ensure that they benefitted from OPCW capacity-building programmes, including the exchange of scientific and technical information for purposes permitted under the Convention on Chemical Weapons.

Thematic Debate on Outer Space

ANGGI SAZIKA JENIE (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, supported the international community’s desire to strengthen the safety, security and long-term sustainability of outer space activities and ensure its use was exclusively for peaceful purposes and for the benefit of all States, irrespective of the degree of their social, economic or scientific development.  However, the Non-Aligned Movement remained concerned about developments related to anti-ballistic missile systems and the threat of the militarization of outer space.  In that vein, she called for the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament toward a legally binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.  She also called for a universal, non-discriminatory and multilateral approach toward the issue of missiles, in all their aspects.

Right of Reply

The representative on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the United Kingdom’s decision to participate in joint military exercises to be conducted by the United States and the Republic of Korea was a hostile act that fuelled a fire burning out of control.  Nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula had been created by the United States, leaving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with no option but to “go nuclear”, he said, adding that illegal sanctions, fabricated by the United States, would never work.

The representative of Syria asked whether the United States had learned from past lessons the grave consequences of financing armed terrorist groups.  The Netherlands must be held accountable for transporting chemical weapons to Israel and the Turkish regime had facilitated the transfer of 14 tonnes of toxic material, including phosphorous, into Syria, he said, adding that Canada should refrain from bombing Syria with lies, prejudice and erroneous information.

The representative of Iran, responding to references made by his counterpart from the United Kingdom, said the missiles involved had not been designed to be nuclear-capable.  The fact that Iran had never been on path to acquire nuclear weapons made accusations against a conventional missile programme all the more irrelevant and extraneous.

The representative of the United States said his country was in full compliance with its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention. If anyone had any doubts about chemical weapons in Syria, they should read the Joint Investigative Mechanism report, he said, adding that the Government of Syria must be held responsible for attacks on its own people.  The United States posed no threat to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, that country that currently posed a threat to the Korean Peninsula.

The representative of Qatar said the Joint Investigative Mechanism reports had confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and in two cases, those arms had been transferred by helicopter.  It had also declared that no party could use helicopters without the knowledge of the Government of Syria, which must respond to the contents of the reports.The representative of the Republic of Korea said that after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had invaded his country, a number of forces had responded.  It was saddening to hear delegate from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea consistently repeating the same words.

The representative of Turkey said his Government had provided food and shelter to 3 million Syrians that had fled their homes.  Concerning the Chemical Weapons Convention, Turkey had conducted investigations and applied the instrument’s principles accordingly.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his Government would increase its nuclear deterrent as that was the most reliable instrument to defend its peace and security.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was ready to face any type of war, whatever choice the United States made, he said.

The representative of Syria said that the Qatari regime had funded, trained and armed terrorist groups, including giving them instructions on how to use chemical weapons.  After the Government of Turkey had prepared camps to shelter Syrians before the emergence of the crisis and had sponsored terrorists, Turkey was now shirking its responsibility for a number of crimes it had committed.  The Joint Investigative Mechanism report did not provide one substantiated element as to who used chemical weapons in Syria, nor did it contain any documented medical reports by persons who had claimed to have been exposed to such weapons.

The representative of the United States said his counterpart from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea made no sense, needed to abandon his stale rhetoric and had been believed by no one.

The representative of Cuba said Article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention recognized that all States parties had a right to exchange substances and technology for peaceful purposes and a duty to respect that right.  The blockade policy of the United States against Cuba was still in force, complicating the development of Cuba’s chemical industry and its capacity to trade with other countries, he said, calling on the Government of the United States to end those prohibitions and to fully comply with Article XI.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the obstinacy with which his counterpart from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had repeated the same illogical arguments had now gone beyond delusion.

The representative of Qatar said the people of Syria would not forget that those responsible for their security were destroying their homes.

For information media. Not an official record.