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20130918-Bashar al-Jaafari


Al-Jaafari: UN report on chemical weapons use added nothing new to what Syria forewarned of

18/9/2013 – New York – (SANA-H. Zain/H. Said) – The findings of the non-final report issued by the UN General Secretariat on the allegations of chemical weapons use in Damascus Countryside which said that the toxic sarin gas was used did not add anything new to what the Syrian government has forewarned of several times since a long time, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said late Tuesday.

During a UN General Assembly meeting to hear UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s update on the report submitted by the UN mission investigating the incident which allegedly took place in al-Ghouta area on August 21s, 2013, al-Jaafari stressed that the Syrian government will look into all of the findings of the report as it does not want to anticipate judgment on the contents of the report before a careful study of its details.

He clarified that the Syrian government has from the beginning cautioned against the danger of using chemical weapons in Syria by terrorist groups, some with ties to al-Qaeda.

He expressed wish that the UN General Secretariat had waited the UN mission to complete investigations into all the allegations stipulated in the agreement signed with the Syrian government on August 15, 2013 and thus submit a comprehensive report on all the incidents, including that of Khan al-Assal on March 19, 2013.

Al-Jaafari considered that issuing a non-final report would disrupt the comprehensiveness of investigation and confuse the independent, objective and honest scientific dimension of this investigation.

He added that not waiting for a final report would serve the interventional agendas of some countries which are seeking to politicize the investigation so as to try to demonize the Syrian government, disregard the positive meaning of Syria’s decision to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and sabotage the Syrian-Russian initiative to put Syria’s chemical weapons stocks and storage and production sites under the OPCW control.

He highlighted that “huge political pressures” were exerted on the UN General Secretariat to issue the report before investigations are fully completed, calling upon everybody, particularly the General Secretariat, to avoid entering the labyrinth of making prejudgments on a report “which it from the beginning wanted it to be non-final and incomprehensive”.

“It was the Syrian government which asked the UN to unveil the identity of the perpetrators of the heinous crime committed in Khan al-Assal on March 19, 2013. However, the General Secretariat insisted, under political pressures by some countries involved in the Syrian crisis, that this aspect of the investigation is not the field of the investigation mission,” said al-Jaafari.

“The irony is that we now face false accusations made by the capitals of the very same countries based on interpretations and explanations which were not included in the report’s text in the first place,” he added.

The Syrian Ambassador to the UN stressed that the Syrian government agrees with the UN Secretary General’s view of condemning the use of chemical weapons as “abominable crime subject to the principle of accountability”.

Al-Jaafari however stressed that this view should not be discretionary and tolerant with the governments of the countries which brought the world’s terrorists to Syria, trained them and supplied them with money and arms, including chemical weapons.

“The Syrian government has always been and is still keen on making the Middle east region free of weapons of mass destruction,” he said, adding that Syria has always sought to have its conviction in this regard translated in regional and international.

However, al-Jaafari added, Syria has always been confronted by Israel’s stance against this goal through its rejection to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and ratify the Agreement on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction of 1992.

He referred to Syria-proposed UN Security Council draft resolution to establish a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, an initiative, al-Jaafari said, was foiled by the opposition of the U.S. delegation then.

“Since the outset of the crisis in Syria, the Syrian government has repeatedly warned of the danger of the use of chemical weapons in the country by terrorist groups, some linked to al-Qaeda,” al-Jaafari pointed out.

He added that the Syrian government has officially voiced, since December 2012, its serious concern over some governments supplying the terrorists in Syria with chemical weapons, which would later be used to blame the Syrian government, noting that a letter on this regard is now in the archive of the Security Council and the General Assembly and dates December 18, 2012.

The Syrian Representative to the UN underscored that stirring the so-called “chemical weapons in Syria” file aims to undermine the chances of holding the Geneva 2 conference and move forward with the option of military aggression and the illusions of changing the regime in Syria.

He noted that the December 8, 2012 letter, in which Syria denounced the international community’s inaction to address the developments of the terrorist groups taking over a private factory for the production of chlorine to the east of Aleppo, was submitted 4 months before the accusations of chemical weapons use against the Syrian government were made by the French and British delegations.

Al-Jaafari also referred to another letter addressed on March 19, 2013 to the UN Secretary General and the Security Council Chairman regarding the attack which the armed terrorist groups carried out in Khan al-Assal near Aleppo city using a rocket containing chemical substances.

He cited a number of reports which confirm the use of sarin gas by the terrorist groups in Syria, including the Turkish authorities’ arrest in May of 2013 of 12 terrorists with 2 kg of sarin gas in their possession moved from Libya onboard a civilian plane.

He also mentioned the report of the experts in charge of implementing Resolution 1973, issued on March 9, 2013, which confirmed ongoing smuggling of Libyan weapons through Turkey and Lebanon and the report on the manufacturing of chemical weapons in a secret lab in Iraq by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists to be later handed over to the terrorists in Syria.

Al-Jaafari referred to the Russian journalist, Anastasia Popova’s reports presented to the General Secretariat on her observations in Khan al-Assal area when the chemical attack took place, confirming that it was the armed terrorist groups which used the chemical weapons against the Syrian Army and civilians in the area.

He also cited reports on the involvement of two Qatari officers in shipping poisonous chemical materials across the Turkish lands to the armed terrorist groups which used them in Khan al-Assal.

Al-Jaafari made a reference to a report published by a journalist from to the American Associated Press agency on the terrorist groups’ use of chemical weapons in al-Ghouta on August 21, 2013. According to the report, the residents accused the Saudi Intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan of providing the terrorists with chemical substances which were used in carrying out the heinous crime.

The Syrian Representative cited as well the US Intelligences’ secret document posted on the American WND website. The document unveils that Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists have gained sarin gas from al-Qaeda in Iraq across Turkey.

“We have honestly and clearly dealt with the UN General Secretariat as we asked for conducting an investigation in Khan al-Assal incident of which the Syrian government was accused despite the fact that the attack mainly targeted members from the Syrian army,” al-Jaafari said.

He added that the Syrian government also dealt in the same positivity with the Secretariat’s request to expand the work of the UN mission to include investigation in August 21 incident, but the Syrian government didn’t expect that the work of the mission was to be limited to this incident only while the other incidents were ignored, including those which took place on August 22, 24 and 25, where Syrian soldiers came under attacks with poisonous gases.

Al-Jaafari affirmed the Syrian government’s readiness to commit to cooperation with the OPCW in abiding by the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which he said Syria agreed to join by a legislative decree issued by President Bashar al-Assad.

He also expressed Syria’s readiness to unveil all its chemical stockpiles, its crude components, and the sites of production and storage according to the primary implementation of the Convention before being put into effect regarding Syria.