22:33 GMT +320 March 2019
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    UNSC Committee Convenes to Discuss Non-Proliferation of WMDs

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    In the wake of unverified reports about a chemical weapons incident in the Syrian city of Douma, the United Nations Security Council Committee, established pursuant to resolution 1540, is discussing the issue of non-proliferation of radiological, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

    On April 7, some Syrian opposition media outlets reported that a chemical attack took place in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta. Citing sources among militants, they claimed that the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chlorine in the area and killed up to 70 people. Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the attack. The Syrian government refuted the reports, stressing that it had destroyed all of its chemical weapons, a fact confirmed by the OPCW itself. Red Crescent found no trace of chemical weapons being used in Syria's Douma.

    This alleged incident brought the issue of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to the fore of the international agenda. During the briefings, all UNSC Committee member state representatives highlighted the importance of the 1540 UN resolution, which was adopted in 2004 and stipulated that states take upon obligations to develop and implement measures against the proliferation of radiological, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons as well as their means of delivery, in order to prevent these weapons falling into the hands of non-state actors.

    READ MORE: OPCW to Hold Special Session on Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

    The UK representative in the UN Security Council noted not only threats posed by weapons of mass destruction being in the hands of  non-state actors, such as terrorist organizations, but also dangers represented by the use of these kinds of weapons by states. As an example she cited the alleged chemical incident in the Syrian city of Douma, as well as suspected poisoning of ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's brother in Malaysia.

    France's envoy to the UN echoed this position and stressed the importance of preventing terrorists from gaining access to sensitive nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical materials.

    READ MORE: Macron Claims to Have Proof of Chemical Weapons Use by Syrian Government

    The US representative pointed out the necessity to strengthen counter-proliferation strategies, adding that Washington pays attention not only to backing international organizations dealing with  issues concerning weapons of mass destruction, but is also ready to provide bilateral support for states.

    Russia's UN ambassador stated that the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is among the country's priorities. Moscow is keen to find common ground with its Western partners, as concerted and coordinated efforts are of great significance. Responding to the previous speaker's references to the alleged chemical attacks in the UK city of Salisbury and Syria's Douma, the envoy said that the OPCW is probing the incidents and all procedures are conducted in line with regulations.

    During the committee's session, China's representative noted that all countries have to work together in order to find political and diplomatic solutions to the emerging problems, whereas unilateralism and double standards should be firmly rejected.


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    chemical weapons, UN Security Council (UNSC), Syria, United States, Russia
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