Delegates Vote to Retain Mention of Syria in Resolution Concerning Collaboration with Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
The General Assembly today voted to retain mention of Syria in a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), as it took action on seven resolutions on cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
By a recorded vote of 108 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Guyana), the Assembly welcomed the “effective and ongoing” cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW, as demonstrated through the work of the Joint OPCW-United Nations mission for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.
Having voted on a similar text in previous years, the current text now contained a paragraph, which was drafted without consultation with his delegation, said Syria’s representative, adding that the text was supposed to be a purely technical resolution that did not target any specific country. Doing so in the draft text was intentional targeting of Syria, which his Government rejected. As there were no more chemical weapons in his country, politicization of that topic should cease.
But the representative of Netherlands, who introduced the resolution, focused instead on the fact that the text welcomed the preparations being undertaken by OPCW to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons in Ieper, Belgium.
All the latter six resolutions — including texts on cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Collective Security Treaty Organization, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), League of Arab States, Central European Initiative and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — were adopted by consensus.
They called for joint action, respectively, to strengthen regional and sub-regional cooperation in a plethora of areas, ranging from energy efficiency and environmental conservation to healthcare, education and culture. Some texts took note of measures to combat organized crime and illicit drug trafficking, while others stressed the value of activities for disarmament and peacebuilding, among other areas.
General Assembly President Sam Kutesa made introductory remarks.
Also speaking at today’s meeting were representatives of Austria, Belarus, Morocco, Russian Federation, Greece, Malaysia, Mauritania (on behalf of the African States), Switzerland, Timor-Leste (on behalf of the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries), Ethiopia, Moldova, Armenia, Egypt, South Africa, Ukraine, Iran, Lithuania, Turkey, and China.
A representative of the League of Arab States also spoke, as did a representative of BSEC.
Randy Bell, Director of the International Data Centre Division of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), also made a statement.
The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 12 November to take up the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.
The General Assembly met today to consider the question of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations. Delegates had before them the Secretary-General’s eponymous report on that topic (document A/69/228), as well as the Secretary-General’s note on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document (A/69/164) and his note on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (document A/69/171).
Also before the Assembly were draft resolutions regarding United Nations cooperation with specific organizations.
By the terms of the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Central European Initiative (document A/69/L.8), the Assembly would welcome the Initiative’s plan of action for 2014-2016. That Plan aimed at strengthening regional cooperation in fields such as transport and energy, with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, environment, small and medium-sized enterprises, business development, research, education, the information society, culture and media. The draft resolution appealed for greater cooperation between the Initiative and international organizations and international financial institutions in co-financing important projects in the region.
By the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States, (document A/69/L.9), the Assembly would request that the Secretariat intensify bilateral consultations, improve information exchange, and advance cooperation at all levels, from political and social to disarmament, peace-building and mediation. The Assembly would also call for continued periodic consultations between the Organization’s entities and the League, and for an accelerated review of their mutual 1989 cooperation agreement. Further, it would call for the many Organization bodies to increase contacts with its counterpart League entities, make the best possible use of Arab institutions, and participate with them in Arab-based development projects.
By the text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (document A/69/L.10), the Assembly would take note of CIS’ activities to strengthen regional cooperation in such areas as trade and economic development; exchange of statistical data and economic information; culture; education; health care; sports; tourism; science and innovation; environmental protection and response to natural and man-made disasters; combating organized crime, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, terrorist acts, manifestations of extremism and illegal migration; and other related areas. It would further invite the specialized agencies and other organizations, programmes and funds of the United Nations system, as well as international financial institutions, to develop their cooperation with the Commonwealth.
By the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.12), the Assembly would propose that United Nations specialized agencies, organizations, programmes and funds cooperate with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with a view to jointly implementing programmes to achieve their goals. And in that regard, the Assembly would recommend that the heads of such entities continue consultations with the Secretary-General.
By the terms of the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (document A/69/L.13), the Assembly would invite the United Nations Secretary-General to continue regular consultations with the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, utilizing the appropriate inter-institutional forums and formats, including the consultations between the United Nations Secretary-General and the heads of regional organizations. It would also invite increased cooperation and coordination among organizations and the United Nations specialized agencies and programmes, as well as the development of their direct contacts in areas of mutual interest.
The draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.14) would have the Assembly appeal for greater cooperation between international financial institutions and that organization in co-financing feasibility and pre-feasibility studies for projects in the wider Black Sea area, where economically prudent and within their respective mandates. It would further encourage the full implementation of the cooperation agreement between the organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), dated 20 February 2002, and the relationship agreement between the Organization and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), dated 8 September 1997.
By the terms of the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, (document A/69/L.15), the Assembly would take note of the report of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission.
Taking note of its joint mission with the United Nations for the Elimination of the Chemical Weapons Programme of the Syrian Arab Republic, which ended 30 September 2014, as well as the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in that country, the Assembly, by the terms of the draft resolution on the cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW,(document A/69/L.16), also would take note of the 2012 and 2013 OPCW annual reports and the report of the Third Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, held in The Hague from 8 to 19 April 2013.
In introducing the joint debate on the cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations, SAM KUTESA, President of the Assembly, said he was convinced that strengthening the strategic partnership with 25 regional and sub-regional organizations was of critical importance and signified a key priority in the Assembly. In the context of the post-2015 development agenda, those organizations were uniquely placed to support the work of the United Nations. Distinctly positioned to understand the root causes of issues in their areas, their expertise was critical for the prevention of conflict, the settlement of disputes, and in providing humanitarian assistance.
Collaborative efforts in promoting peace and security in Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic were examples of regional cooperation that had yielded positive results, he said. A joint mission was also underway with the United Nations, African Union, and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Burkina Faso. The benefits of cooperation were also illustrated in the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the formation of the African Union Agenda 2063. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had also forged a strong relationship with the United Nations. Now was an opportune time to explore ways to further harness the benefits of partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations. In May 2015, he would be convening a high-level debate on the topic, and invited Member States to participate.
RANDY BELL, Director, International Data Centre Division, Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said he represented an organization whose mission was to bring an end to nuclear test explosions once and for all, an international goal for more than six decades. Although CTBT had yet to enter into force, the good news was that the Treaty was working, and the verification system was able to detect nuclear tests at a fraction of the yield of the first nuclear weapons in the desert near Alamogordo in July 1945. The verification regime had evolved over the decades as the number of monitoring stations steadily increased and technologies continued to improve. The system’s reliability and sustainability had also improved. That improved performance had been demonstrated in detecting the nuclear tests announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Improvement had been made in the area of successful on-site inspections in the event of a treaty violation. To ensure the verification regime remained current, the international community had to strive to identify key scientific and technological developments that could affect its future operations. The Preparatory Commission had sought to strengthen its relationship with the broader scientific community through science and technology conferences.
Introduction of Drafts
ANDREAS RIECKEN (Austria), introducing the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Central European Initiative (document A/69/L.8), said that regional cooperation had to be seen in a global context. The need for more cooperation and synergies among those involved was therefore obvious. Holding the Central European Initiative Presidency, his Government had organized meetings of regional organizations. In carrying out its mission and objective, the Central European Initiative fostered cohesion as a forum of political dialogue.
ANDREI DAPKIUNAS (Belarus), introducing the draft resolution on cooperation between CIS (document A/69/L.10) said that cooperation had been progressively increasing. With the executive bodies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations University (UNU), CIS had established Treaty relations. In July 2013, CIS had established a focal point of cooperation with the Security Council. Systemic development of cooperation was vital to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and other organizations. That was the purpose of the resolution Belarus submitted to the Assembly.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco), introducing the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (document A/69/L.9), said that the text welcomed previous resolutions and recommendations stemming from a meeting between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. Owing to changes, an increased emphasis had been seen on bolstering cooperation at the regional level. In accordance with the draft, the Assembly would encourage the United Nations and its specialized agencies to reinforce their cooperation, and in that context the draft also contained provisions for a review of all existing cooperation mechanisms.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), speaking in his national capacity, said that in the last few years, the “Eurosec” customs union between his country, Belarus and Kazakhstan had cooperated with the United Nations on trade, transport, tourism, migration, and many more topics. His Government favourably assessed the results of that work, which had done much in establishing multilateral cooperation. In the 14 years of its existence, Eurosec had emerged as an effective association, fully confirming its utility. In forming the Eurasian Economic Union, Eurosec, by a decision of member States, would cease its work, which would be handed over to Eurasian Economic Union bodies. Established as a regional organization for regional integration with international legal status, the Eurasian Economic Union would provide to its members the free flow of goods, capital, services and labour. His Government believed that the goals and objectives were relevant for global trends for development. Much more remained to be done so that the new Eurasian Economic Union would begin to operate at full strength.
Introducing the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (document L/69/L.13, he said that the effective work of regional organizations on the ground was an important component. The Collective Security Treaty Organization was a multifaceted structure, conducting regular anti-narcotic activities. Its purpose was to strengthen peace and regional security under the norms of international law, and those elements had been reflected in the draft resolution today. Introducing the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.12), he said that it was based on previous resolutions and that over the last few years, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization had become a cornerstone of regional security.
MICHEL SPINELLIS (Greece), introducing the draft resolution on cooperation between the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.14), said the Black Sea region had attracted considerable attention as a hub of energy and transport between Europe and Asia. With increased activity in the region, joint projects and enhanced coalitions were important in addressing regional challenges. Under the Greek Chairmanship from 1 July to 1 December 2014, the organization had sought to enhance its support-building capabilities and economic cooperation through concrete project implementation. Priority areas in the environment, transport, energy, institutional reform and good governance, trade and economic development, agriculture, and combating organized crime constituted the basis for developing additional joint projects. He expressed hope that this year’s resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the organization would be adopted without a vote.
HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia), introducing the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document A/69/L.15), and speaking as Chair of that Commission, said CTBT was one of the most important multilateral instruments in the advancement of international peace and security, as it established a norm on nuclear testing in all environments, whether for military or civilian purposes. A key element of its verification regime was the Vienna-based International Data Centre, which collected and processed monitoring data from the International Monitoring System. At present, around 300 stations worldwide transmitted information to the data centre, providing the monitoring system with a truly global reach. In addition to enhancing the detection of nuclear explosions, that flow of data would also benefit the fields of disaster mitigation and scientific research. He welcomed Congo’s ratification of CTBT, and urged others to sign and ratify the same, in order to ensure the Treaty’s entry into force. In light of the Commission’s important work, he expressed hope that, as in recent years, the draft resolution would continue to enjoy the consensual support of all Member States.
ADRIAN BEENEN (Netherlands), introducing the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW (document A/69/L.16), said that the work of OPCW was in verifying the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles and in promoting the peaceful use of chemistry. For past year, OPCW had been participating in the elimination of the chemical weapons programme of Syria. With 190 States party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, further steps towards its universalization would be taken in future. The draft resolution would note that 100 years ago, the world’s first use of chemical weapons occurred in Ieper, Belgium. Expressing hope that the draft could be adopted, as it was a factual and technical text, he said that his delegation was confident that the draft would command the largest possible support.
SIDI MOHAMED OULD BOUBACAR (Mauritania), speaking on behalf of the African States, said the region had witnessed growth and improvement in its cooperation efforts, as well as the peaceful resolution of conflicts. He reaffirmed the need to continue cooperation through the transfer of resources and experiences in the African Union. Positive relations between the United Nations Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union were a clear expression of cooperation. Strengthening the relationship between the African Union and the United Nations was more urgent than ever. In addition to development challenges, the Union was prey to a fierce epidemic that had taken many lives, and required that the international community worked side by side with Africa. He called on the international community to provide all forms of support in fighting the Ebola epidemic. Various opportunities existed to strengthen peace and socio-economic cooperation even further with the post-2015 development agenda. Because of the difficult conditions around the world, it was important to build relations between the organizations, developing refined priorities and holding consultations before making decisions. The Group of African States would come back to the Assembly concerning the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union before the end of the Assembly’s session.
OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland) said that strengthening cooperation between the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations had been a priority shared by Switzerland, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, and the Secretary-General. The two organizations had been connected through a long-standing and successful cooperation, which included regular exchanges at all levels, and extended to numerous areas. Cooperation on regional issues had been strong for several years. Throughout Southeast Europe, OSCE field operations coordinated their activities closely with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. Also, Ukraine had become another region where cooperation between the two entities was both necessary and useful. Cooperation also extended to thematic areas, such as in counter-terrorism. As a result of OSCE’s support for the implementation of United Nations anti-terrorism instruments, the ratification rate in the OSCE region had increased from 65 per cent in 2001 to almost 85 per cent in 2014. Looking ahead, OSCE would continue to work with the United Nations in areas such as disaster risk reduction and water management.
SOFIA BORGES (Timor-Leste), speaking on behalf of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, welcomed the establishment of the legitimate Government in Guinea-Bissau earlier this year, and noted the positive steps taken by the democratically elected authorities. The Community and its Member States were deeply involved in coordinating efforts with the United Nations and other international partners to support the priorities set out by the Government to promote stability, respect for human rights, democratic institutions, the rule of law, and social and economic development. She recalled Council resolution 2157 (2014) and the importance of convening an international pledging conference on the country’s recovery, to which the Community remained fully committed, as well as a renewed and strengthened future mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau. The re-launching of the International Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau was an essential instrument to effectively coordinate international assistance for the country.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), aligned with the African Union, said the scale of cooperation between the United Nations and the Union had evolved, and was imperative in addressing new threats, including conflicts, terrorism, health endemics and many others. The regional organizations could play an important role, and he was pleased that the United Nations had recognized that. He was encouraged by the enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the Union in recent years, and expressed hope that it would continue through flexible approaches and common objectives in the future. He expressed hope that the United Nations comprehensive reviews on peacekeeping would take into consideration the Union’s concerns, stressing the importance of peace, security and development in the region.
VLAD LUPAN (Republic of Moldova) said that in the first half of 2015, his country would take over the Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. In that capacity, it would continue to be firmly engaged in strengthening dialogue with the United Nations and its agencies. Vast possibilities for valuable interaction existed in areas such as the environment, sustainable energy, transport, and entrepreneurship. In that regard, during its chairmanship, his country would also try to hold consultations with the United Nations, in order to initiate joint programmes in fields of common interest.
ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said no country was effective in pursuing its national agenda without engagement with others. Armenia had benefitted strongly from the institutional strength and effectiveness of European regional and sub-regional cooperation in political dialogue, security, human rights, democratic transformation, and the strengthening of the rule of law, trade and economy, and culture and youth development. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, such as the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, on the basis of international law, was of specific significance. The OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chairmanship, an internationally supported format, was by far the most effective regional arrangement for this particular case. As a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Armenia would continue to deliver on its commitment to forge closer cooperation with the United Nations on international peace and peacekeeping capacities. The Council of Europe had been a principal body to assist Armenia in its democratic reform process. The resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and that Council outlined the broad scope of mutual reinforcing mandates. Cooperation and dialogue among the States on regional, sub-regional and global levels remained the method for sustaining peace, security, and cooperation.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said that in order to achieve the goals of the United Nations, it was necessary to expand African capacity through increased coordination between the Organization and the African Union, in accordance with the 10-year capacity building framework that both had signed in 2006. Also important was cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. The establishment of the mission of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria was an example of potential cooperation that should extend to conflict prevention and resolution. That cooperation could help find lasting solutions to the Palestinian question and the issue of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Recalling the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) as the most prominent example of cooperation between the United Nations and a regional organization in the area of peacekeeping, he said there should be more hybrid operations, with a predominantly African character.
MLUNGISI MBALATI (South Africa) noted the improved cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, and was pleased that the United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security had continued to meet two times a year. That interaction should be encouraged in order for both organizations to develop a common and deeper understanding of the root causes of conflict in Africa, and a common solution to particular security challenges. Interaction, such as the interactive dialogue held in Namibia in July 2014, between the United Nations and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would help strengthen sub-regional capacities in electoral support, conflict prevention and mediation. The Secretary-General’s report pointed out that regional and sub-regional organizations were distinct and faced different challenges. A one-size-fits-all approach to cooperation was not conducive to success.
He said the cooperation between SADC and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to create a Force Intervention Brigade under the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) had produced results. There was relative stability, and the lives of people in the eastern Congo had greatly improved. He acknowledged that such an arrangement was exceptional rather than a norm. There had not been such an approach in the Middle East despite the positive developments in other regions. Cooperation between the United Nations and the Arab League on the Middle East Peace Process had been disappointing. The Council had yet to provide effective and meaningful support to the League’s efforts.
AHMED AMIN FATHALLA, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, said cooperation between the United Nations and the League had helped foster peace-building and capacity-building. Arab countries went through difficult stages after wars and crises, and without cooperation, they could relapse. In a meeting in Cairo in June 2013, the Arab States had decided to use cooperation as part of a global vision aimed at strengthening relations between the United Nations and the League, as well as interaction among themselves to build capacity to prevent conflict, and establishment of security and development in order to strengthen civil society in the post-conflict stage. In the past two years, cooperation had helped strengthen democracy and governance in the region. The Department of Political Affairs was implementing a project to help the League build capacity for mediation. In addition to recommendations for maintaining peace and security in the region, outcomes of the June 2013 Cairo meeting included recommendations regarding intellectual property, heritage, women’s rights, climate changes, scientific research, disabled persons’ rights, and the quality of education. Participants also created a framework for follow-up on agreed projects.
The League was prepared to enter the second stage of the early warning and crisis response project that had been established with the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), he said. He expressed concerns about the demands on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which made the task of handling Palestinian refugees more difficult in the region. He asked that the draft resolution be adopted by consensus.
VICTOR TVIRCUN, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), said the organization’s first priority was to accelerate implementation of the BSEC Economic Agenda ”Towards an Enhanced BSEC Partnership,” a strategic document endorsed by its Member States in 2012. Its second priority was to proceed with the activation of the Project Management Unit with the Organization’s Permanent International Secretariat. That initiative would use available human resources create and elaborate project proposals in a wide range of areas, from energy to environmental protection to science and technology. A third priority was consolidating activity within the Organization’s working groups and increasing cooperation within its related bodies. Its last objective was increasing the Secretariat’s efficiency and effectiveness, an institution set up in 1994 to support the organization’s activities and objectives.
The organization also was committed to promote cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies to develop practical projects with results, he said. For example, in transportation, it was working with the International Road Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to improve the road transportation of goods. The introduction of the International Weight Certificate project would significantly reduce waiting times at the borders of participating countries, and ease the transportation of goods.
Action on Drafts
In explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Ukraine, speaking on the draft text entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States” (document A/69/L.10) said that CIS pretended that there was no conflict waged by the Russian Federation in violation of the Commonwealth charter. Not having signed and ratified its charter, Ukraine was not a member State of the Commonwealth. Ukraine had abstained from putting the draft resolution to a vote, on the understanding that the Commonwealth in cooperation with the United Nations would legally represent only those countries which had ratified its charter. Adoption of the draft text should not be interpreted as recognition of the Commonwealth as a regional organization.
The representative of Syria said that as a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Syria had cooperated with the mission of that Organization, even though the environment it operated in wasn’t ideal, as everybody knew. The elimination of chemical weapons in Syria would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Syrian Government. Having voted on a similar text in previous years, the current text now contained a paragraph, which was drafted without consultation with his Delegation. The text was supposed to be a purely technical resolution that did not target any specific country. Doing so in the draft text was intentional targeting of Syria, which his Government rejected. The mention of his country raised questions of why his country was being targeted when it had cooperated with the international community. As there were no more chemical weapons in his country, politicization of that topic should cease. Syria would continue its cooperation with OPCW, in a constructive spirit. His delegation saw no reason for the draft text to contain its operative paragraph 2, because that reflected targeting of his country, and would accordingly abstain on the vote.
The representative of Iran said that as the main victim of the use of chemical weapons in recent history, his country had always supported the work of OPCW. Based on that principled position, Iran would vote in favour of the draft resolution entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” (document A/69/L.16), but would like to express its strong dissatisfaction that the sponsor of the text had ignored and overlooked established practices and working methods in tabling the resolution this year. The text had been prepared and circulated without any transparent consultations. The draft resolution, which was circulated just a few days ago, contained some substantive references regarding ongoing developments and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in Syria.
Given a lack of time for consideration on new and substantive provisions of the draft by relevant authorities at the capital level, in a spirit of goodwill, his delegation had requested time for consulting with capitals, and regretted that sponsors had ignored that request and the Assembly was taking action on the draft resolution, he said. Iran therefore could not vote in favour of operative paragraph 2 of the resolution. He called on the sponsors to review and change the resolution next year, and to refrain from turning the resolution, which had been adopted by consensus for a long time, into a substantive and controversial text.
The Assembly then adopted the following draft resolutions by consensus: cooperation between the United Nations and the Central European Initiative (document A/69/L.8); cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (document A/69/L.9); cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States (L.10); cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.12); cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (document A/69/L.13); and cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.14).
Next, it took up the draft resolution entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” (document A/69/L.16). The Assembly, by a recorded vote of 93 in favour to none against, with 8 abstentions (Bahamas, Belarus, Cameroon, Egypt, Guyana, Iran, Libya, Syria), retained operative paragraph 2 of that text. It then adopted the draft resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 108 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Guyana).
The representative of Lithuania, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote on the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (document A/69/L.13), said time and time again she had seen the important role that regional organizations had played. At the same time, she underlined that the United Nations principles were enshrined in the Charter, and should lie at the core of its organizations. Those norms were continually being broken against a neighbour, acts that ran counter to all that the United Nations stood for. She reiterated Lithuania’s profound concern that the Russian Federation was redrawing the borders of Europe, and she called on it to stop hostile actions against Ukraine, and abide by the territorial integrity of its neighbours.
The representative of Turkey, speaking in explanation of vote on the resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW (document A/69/L.16), said he was committed to the prohibition of chemical weapons, and was convinced that enhanced cooperation was important in addressing related challenges. But the resolution did not address the worrisome developments in Syria, where the persistent use of chemical weapons obligated him to look at the issue differently. It had become even more crucial that cooperation must be focused on the Syrian case to stop the use of chemical weapons. The draft should have made clear reference to those issues. Even so, he supported the text because cooperation between the organizations would help enhance cooperation on the issue.
According to his information, the regional forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had made another chlorine attack, and the draft resolution had not referred to the joint OPCW-United Nations fact-finding mission, he said. Given OPCW’s specific mandate to refer cases of non-compliance, Turkey was convinced that the transmission of the report would be an important sign. Even though the joint mission had ended, the resolution did not make any mention of the remaining chemical weapons programme in Syria. Until those gaps were addressed in a reliable manner, no one could say that OPCW had achieved its goal in the area, because the existence of Syria’s remaining chemical weapons was a flagrant violation of international law.
Explaining his vote on the same resolution, the representative of the Russian Federation said he was grateful to the Netherlands and OPCW. Based on its spirit, he supported the consensus adoption of the resolution. But such generalities should not have made reference to any specific country cases. Otherwise, it would have been necessary to add other equally important measures to the text to investigate cases of chemical weapons use. It would have been more effective to talk about the facts that OPCW had decided that led to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. With respect to cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW on Syria, the investigation was initiated by Damascus itself, which had cooperated as much as possible. That fact should have been reflected in the draft resolution.
The representative of China welcomed the adoption of that text, and while welcoming the quality of the cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW, it believed that the latter should have played a leading role in the destruction of chemical weapons.
Right of Reply
In exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Syria said that apparently the representative of Turkey and the Turkish regime was well accustomed to violating the rules of the Assembly, and should not have been allowed to speak after the vote. The representative of Turkey had intentionally overlooked the fact that his Government had provided terrorist organizations, including ISIL, with chemical weapons and other types of weapons. The use of gas in 2013 in Syria had been overlooked by the authorities in Ankara.