I have the honour to transmit herewith the fortieth monthly report of the Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), submitted pursuant to paragraph 12 of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013). The present report covers the period from 22 December 2016 to 22 January 2017.
The situation with regard to the destruction of the chemical weapons production facilities declared by the Syrian Arab Republic is unchanged. OPCW has verified the destruction of 24 of the 27 facilities. The Director General has been informed by the Syrian Arab Republic that the security situation on the ground still prevents safe access to the three remaining facilities by representatives of either the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic or the OPCW Secretariat.
With respect to the initial declaration and subsequent submissions of the Syrian Arab Republic, I recall the Director General’s overview of the correspondence between OPCW and the Syrian Arab Republic in that regard and, in particular, that OPCW has urged the Syrian Arab Republic to take the steps necessary to complete its declaration. I welcome the commitment of the OPCW Secretariat to assisting the Syrian Arab Republic with the full implementation of its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. I therefore reiterate the need for the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the OPCW Secretariat to work together to resolve those issues.
I deplore the use of chemical weapons by any party in the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. The progress that has been made towards a world free of chemical weapons and the threat of their use must be maintained. I would like to reiterate my previous calls to strengthen the norm against chemical weapons. Those responsible for their use must be held accountable. This norm has already been flouted and, without accountability, may be irreversibly undermined.
The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic is continuing its efforts to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons, including by studying all available information relating to such allegations. In that connection, I recall that the summary update of the activities carried out by the Fact-Finding Mission in 2016 and its report were transmitted to me by the Director General and subsequently circulated as a document of the Security Council (see S/2017/45).
On 17 November 2016, by its resolution 2319 (2016), the Security Council decided to renew the mandate of the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism for a further period of one year. Activities since that time have been focused on securing the professional capacity and resources required to implement that mandate. I wish to express my full support for the work of the Mechanism.
(Signed) António Guterres