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Statement by Ambassador WU Haitao after Voting on the US Draft Resolution on JIM

2017/11/16

China is gravely concerned about chemical weapon attacks in Syria and expresses its sympathy to the Syrian people for their sufferings. China is firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons by any country, organization or person, for whatever purposes and under whatever circumstances.

We have always maintained that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) should carry out comprehensive, objective and impartial investigations into chemical weapon attacks in Syria, basing its work on concrete evidence, and draw conclusions that can stand the test of time and facts. Only if it does so can the perpetrators of chemical weapon attacks in Syria and those accountable be brought to justice and can the Syrian people be free from the sufferings caused by chemical weapon attacks.

China has noted that in its recent report (S/2017/904, annex), the JIM has indicated that for security reasons, and because the attacks occurred too long ago, it decided not to go to Khan Shaykhun and Umm Hawsh for on-site visits. We have also noted that some Council members have different views regarding the methodology and conclusions of the JIM. China supports the Mechanism in further carrying out its work. At the same time, we also hope that it will improve its working methods and procedures, overcome difficulties and problems relating to on-site investigations, use more scientific and rational methods for investigation and evidence collection, and further improve its performance so as to ensure the reliability and credibility of the conclusions and address the concerns of all the parties.

By the draft resolution that was just put to a vote (S/2017/962), the Council would have decided to extend the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism by one year. It contained some positive provisions, such as condemning chemical weapon attacks in Syria, calling for investigations into the incidents, calling upon all the parties to assist the Mechanism in carrying out on-site visits, and expressing concerns about the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors, particularly terrorist organizations. However, with regard to specific measures to improve the working methods, the draft did not fully address the legitimate concerns of some Council members. In view of those considerations, China abstained.

With the joint efforts of all the parties, the Astana dialogue registered good results. A new round of Intra-Syrian talks will soon be held. A political settlement of the Syrian issue is now at a critical stage. The Council should proceed from the overarching goal of reaching a political settlement on the Syrian issues, remain united on the issues of chemical weapons in Syria and create favorable conditions for a political settlement. On that question, the international community should join hands and push all the parties in Syria to pursue, under the auspices of the United Nations, a political process that is owned and led by the Syrians so as to reach a solution that is acceptable to all.

China will continue to play a constructive role in seeking a political settlement so as to find a comprehensive, just and proper solution to the question in Syria at an early date.

(UN Photo/Evan Schneider)

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