High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu confirmed evidence of sulfur mustard and exposure to Sarin found in samples from alleged Syria chemical attacks.
In a briefing to the Security Council, Nakamitsu declared that initial findings from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission in Syria had found evidence of sulfur mustard in samples taken from an alleged attack on September 16, 2016, while analysis of samples collected in relation to an alleged April incident in Khan Shaykhoun had revealed exposure to sarin or a Sarin-like substance.
"This is an issue about which the United Nations cannot be neutral," she told the Council. This was her first report since her recent appointment.
She emphasized to the Council members that the use of chemical weapons by any actor - whether Government forces, terrorist factions or armed opposition groups - could never be justified, regardless of provocation or circumstance.
Further, she emphasized that the report was not the final one, as work remained to be done and all materials and information collected were currently being analyzed.
The fact-finding team was planning a possible visit to Khan Shaykhoun, but since the town was not under Government control, OPCW had formally requested that the UN provide support in the form of "security, logistical and operational assistance."
Encouraging all Member States to support the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, Nakamitsu warned that the world must not allow itself to become inured to ongoing allegations of chemical weapons use, emphasizing that their re-emergence could not be viewed as anything other than a violation of the most basic international law. "This is not an issue to be politicized," she stressed.
Back in March, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Japanese Nakamitsu as the next Undersecretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Office for Disarmament Affairs. She succeeded Kim Won-soo of the Republic of Korea.
Source: NAM News Network