India at UNSC calls for continued engagement between Syria, OPCW

India on Wednesday said it encouraged the continued engagement and cooperation between Syria and the UN-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) towards an early resolution of all outstanding issues.

Speaking at a open video teleconference discussion in the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, India”s Deputy Permanent Representative-Political Coordinator to the UN R Ravindra, reiterated New Delhi’s consistent call for the need for an impartial and objective investigation into any alleged use of chemical weapons.

” India has consistently underlined the need for an impartial and objective investigation into any alleged use of chemical weapons, scrupulously following the provisions and procedures laid down in the Convention,” he said.

“Any concerns should be addressed on the basis of consultation among all concerned parties. In our view, the politicization of the issue will result in parties taking extreme positions, jeopardizing the ongoing efforts towards any resolution,” he added.

The Indian envoy also expressed that New Delhi remains concerned about the possibility of dangerous weapons falling into the hands of terrorist organisations.

“Terrorist groups have taken advantage of the decade long conflict in Syria to entrench themselves posing a threat to the entire region. Reports of the resurgence of ISIS in the region are being heard with increasing frequency. The world cannot afford to give these terrorists any sanctuary or dilute its fight against these terrorist groups,” Ravindra said.

He added, “India has consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria. We have also contributed to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria through humanitarian assistance and human resource development. We now stand ready to work with humanitarian relief agencies in devising a suitable vaccination relief programme for the country and the West Asia as a whole.”

Ravindra stated that India attaches high importance to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which serves as a model for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.

He said further, under the convention, India enjoys the unique distinction of becoming the First State Party to be declared ‘chemical weapon-free’ state Party.

He also pointed out, “India has provided a financial contribution of USD one million to the OPCW Trust Fund for activities relating to the destruction of chemical stockpiles and related facilities in Syria.”

The envoy reiterated India’s “full-hearted support” to both the Geneva and the Astana processes for an expeditious resolution of the decade long conflict in Syria.

He also thanked the Under Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu for her briefing and said India recognizes the continuing efforts of the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT), the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) mechanisms of the OPCW.

“We appreciate the announcement that DAT intends to deploy to the Syrian Arab Republic in early February 2021 for the next round of consultations and look forward to receiving their findings,” he said.

In 2014, the OPCW set up the fact-finding mission to establish the truth about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

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