Ban welcomes Syria’s letter on accession to treaty banning chemical weapons

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meeting with President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria in Sirte, Libya in March 2010. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file photo)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meeting with President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria in Sirte, Libya in March 2010. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file photo)

12 September 2013 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has received a letter from the Government of Syria President Bassar Al-Assad will sign and abide by the 20-year-old international treaty on banning chemical weapons.

A statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesman in New York confirmed that the UN chief received a letter from Damascus today informing him that “President Al-Assad has signed the legislative decree providing for the accession of Syria to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction of 1992.”

“In their letter, the Syrian authorities have expressed their commitment to observe the obligations entailed by the Convention even before its entry into force for Syria,” the UN spokesman says in the statement.

“The Secretary-General welcomes this development,” the statement says, noting that, as depository of the Convention, Mr. Ban has long called for universal accession to the treaty.

“Given recent events, he hopes that the current talks in Geneva will lead to speedy agreement on a way forward which will be endorsed and assisted by the international community,” the statement concludes.

The statement comes after United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Geneva earlier today for further talks on Russia’s proposal for Damascus to surrender its chemical weapons and place them under international control. Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint UN –Arab League Envoy for Syria also met in Geneva with Mr. Kerry

Meanwhile, evidence collected by a UN team probing possible chemical weapons use in Syria on 21 August is being examined by laboratories in Europe. Mr. Ban has said that scientists are working “around the clock” to ensure a rapid result but one that also respects the highest professional standards and without compromising its integrity.

Results of the analyses will be shared with Mr. Ban, who will then share them with the 15-member Security Council and all 193 Member States.