Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the Syrian chemical file (resolution 2118)


Since this is the last, save the pending vote, meeting of the Security Council in December, I would like to commend the efforts of Ecuadorian Presidency which was able, despite the highly turbulent situation in the Council, to fulfil its tasks seamlessly.  

I should also like to thank Brazil and China, presidents of Security Council in October and November respectively, for valuing the time of UNSC members and not including meetings on the implementation of resolution 2118 in the program of work, for this track has long been devoid of any substantive developments. Our country, along with other colleagues, has been calling to optimize the schedule of UNSC meetings on the Syrian chemical file. In our view, discussing it once a quarter is more than enough.

The added value of this meeting is very doubtful too. The US delegation, which pushed for its inclusion in the program of work, was unable to explain why exactly this should be done. Another report by OPCW Director General Fernando Arias on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118 does not differ much from the previous ones. Among the changes we note the mention of the 25th round of consultations between Syria and the Declaration Assessment Team, for non-convening of which Washington had reproached Damascus for quite a while. We had no illusions, however, that this may change the mood of statements to be made by representative of US and its allies, who have no other pretext for keeping this topic afloat in the Council but various fabrications, old and new ones, about the involvement of the Syrian authorities in chemical incidents in their own country. It is no secret that the OPCW and its Technical Secretariat have long since become an obedient tool in the hands of a group of Western states, which now need to ready the ground for more anti-Syrian decisions. Among them was the recommendation adopted at the 28th session of the General Conference of States-Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), held in The Hague from November 27 to December 1. It suggests imposing collective measures against Damascus aimed at preventing the supply of chemicals, dual-use equipment and technologies to Syria, which are included in the Annex to UN document S/2006/853 dated November 7, 2006.That is a clear example of arbitrariness in decision-making.

It is telling that only 65 countries of the OPCW's 194 members wanted to associate themselves with it. This is very indicative in terms of understanding the crisis in the Organization caused by the efforts of Western countries who are gripped by anti-Syrian and anti-Russian hysteria.

By their actions, they have dealt a blow to the UN Charter. By insisting on the adoption of collective measures in accordance with Article XII of the CWC, they simply omit the fact that this Article provides for the possibility of adopting collective measures exclusively in accordance with international law.

According to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the decision to fully or partially terminate economic relations with countries is the exclusive prerogative of the Security Council. The OPCW has no such mandate. Moreover, UNSC sanctions are not imposed to "strangle" an unwanted country economically, as Western neo-colonial powers perceive it. SC restrictions are an auxiliary tool that serves a concrete goal - the maintenance of international peace and security. The decision of the Conference of States-Parties does not and cannot serve any such purpose. What is it then if not an attempt to replace the norms of international law with some “rules” that have been tailored to suit a narrow circle of states and are convenient only for them?


Syria's foes in the OPCW propose the toughest sanctions, even though many substances from Annex to S/2006/853 are actively used in agriculture and medicine. Banning them would further exacerbate the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria. Moreover, the decision implies that States-Parties to the CWC will be able to impose further restrictions against Syria in this area. In fact, this authorizes OPCW Director General to determine, at his discretion, whom to consider a violator of the CWC. In short, the Western countries have received yet another anti-Syrian “toy”, which they surely will begin to play with at today's meeting. The statement by the representative of the United States confirms this. Therefore, let me underscore that only a limited number of Syria’s adversaries believe that Syria may have retained its chemical-military potential. It is well-known that Damascus has fully implemented its obligations under Security Council resolution 2118 to eliminate its CW program. This was done under the strict control of the OPCW Technical Secretariat and with the unprecedented assistance of States-Parties, which was confirmed in 2016 in the documents of the OPCW Executive Council and the Conference of CWC States-Parties. All the rest is opportunistic political speculations.  


Given the extensive crisis in the OPCW which was effected by blatant politicization of this body, we were not surprised to see a show being enacted at the Conference of CWC States-Parties. Everything went according to the pre-assigned roles, aimed at preventing Russia from re-electing to OPCW Executive Council. I will not go into its details. I will only say that by such actions, which flagrantly violated the consensus procedure for the nomination of candidates envisaged by the CWC, the organizers of this show have taken another step towards the final destruction of this once very reputable organization.


We could have cited many more unfavorable facts for the OPCW, and I could have mentioned the activities of the illegitimate Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). But I will save your time and mine, because, first, I do not want to repeat obvious things, and secondly, there is no point wasting breath in front of those who have long ago prepared anti-Syrian and anti-Russian narratives and set themselves up to continue their shameful show of lies that destroys the OPCW. There is no more sense to that than to the assertions by our American colleagues who keep saying that they provide the biggest help to the people of Gaza, which Israel is destroying with the assistance and tacit consent of the United States.

I would rather take advantage of the fact that this is most likely our last open meeting (except the vote) this year, and thank outgoing UNSC members Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the UAE, and welcome incoming members who will start their two-year terms on the Council in January – Algeria, Guyana, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia and Sierra Leone.

Thank you.

Video of the statement