UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to revive efforts to punish those responsible for chemical weapons use in Syria as France asked some 30 countries to work together to preserve evidence of chemical weapons attacks and impose sanctions on those responsible.
Speaking to an open Security Council session on the theme of “non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: confidence-building measures,” Guterres said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria had challenged the “global taboo” against these weapons of mass destruction.
Guterres said that if the use of chemical weapons in Syria is once again determined, the international community “needs to find an appropriate way to identify those responsible and hold them to account.”
“Without such an avenue, we are allowing the use of chemical weapons to take place with impunity,” Guterres stressed urging for unity within the Security Council on the issue.
French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre told the Security Council meeting that his country would host a meeting of up to 30 countries on Tuesday in Paris to launch an initiative aimed at “collecting, conserving, exchanging and using … all the mechanisms at our disposal to name the guilty parties and impose the necessary sanctions on them.”
“It is important that, when the time comes and the political timing is right, all the information on the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks and those who participated in their programs is immediately available so as to ensure they are brought to justice for their actions,” the invitation said.
The move comes after an international investigation into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria ended in November after Russia blocked for the third time in a month attempts at the United Nations to renew the inquiry.
In the past two years, the joint inquiry of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had found the Assad regime used the nerve agent sarin in an April 4, 2017 attack and has used chlorine as a weapon in another 27 attacks. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)