Israel's arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is the biggest threat to peace and security in the Middle East

NEW YORK, (ST)-Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari, has affirmed that the Israeli occupation entity’s arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons still poses the biggest threat to peace and security in the Middle East and it has for decades been a huge challenge to the world disarmament and non-proliferation system.

During the meeting of the UN General Assembly's First Committee on Disarmament and International Security on Friday, al-Jaafari renewed Syria's call on the UN member states to work seriously to make the Middle East free of nuclear weapons and all Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and to put more pressure on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He pointed that intransigent Israel has not yet joined the NPT benefitting from the support that has been provided to its nuclear, military, biological and chemical programs by the United States, Britain, France, Canada, Germany and some other UN member states.

 Al-Jaafari made it clear that Syria has been a member of the NPT since 1968, a member of  the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) since 1972 and a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)) since 2013  and it has welcomed the conference on establishing a region free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.

Al-Jaafari expressed Syria's strong condemnation of any use of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, by anyone anywhere and under any circumstances, stressing that Syria did not and will not use chemical weapons simply because it no longer possesses them, as it has joined the CWC since 2013 and has fulfilled all its obligations pursuant to this convention, despite the difficult conditions it has been going through and the enormous challenges posed by terrorism, occupation, acts of aggression, theft and looting.

He made it clear that the Chairperson of the Joint Committee of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Sigrid Kaag, confirmed in her report submitted to the Security Council in June 2014 that Syria had fully fulfilled its obligations and that its stockpile of these weapons was destroyed on board the American Ship (MV Ray) and other ships. The OPCW also confirmed this fact as it oversaw the destruction of all chemical weapons production sites, he added.

Al-Jaafari explained that Syria has sent more than 200 letters to the UN Secretary-General, the Security Council, the OPCW and the counterterrorism-concerned committees that included accurate information about  the possession of toxic chemicals by terrorist organizations in Syria and  about the use of these chemicals against Syrian civilians and soldiers with the support of governments  and intelligence services and of well-known countries. Syria has also sent letters clarifying that these governments provided terrorist organizations, such as "Daesh" and  "Jabhat Al-Nusra", with toxic materials to use them or to stage a chemical attack against civilians in cooperation with the “White Helmets” terror group, the arm of Jabhat Al-Nusra.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that Syria continues to cooperate with the OPCW Technical Secretariat and its team to help solve the pending issues, calling for speaking up against politicizing the sensitive technical role of the OPCW.

Hamda Mustafa