Australia Group/OPCW Position
The Australia Group is a relatively informal forum of countries that works hard to ensure that exports around the world do not lead to the development of chemical or biological weapons. We work tirelessly to ensure that our participants satisfy the requirements that are set forth by both the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as the Biological Toxin Weapons Convention through the coordination of national export control measures.
It is because of our strong desire to keep chemical weapons, which have no place in the modern day, from being developed and used that we firmly oppose the chemical weapons that are being used by the Syrian government against their people with the help of other foreign governments. In fact, we call for immediate access to Syria in order to assess the damage that has already been done and in order to gather chemical weapons, as well as dual use materials that could be used in the making of such weapons, and immediately dispose of them. The Australia Group would like to be clear in stating that Syria, and countries found to be assisting them, are violating multiple United Nations Resolutions, as well as conventions, and will be dealt with by the international community accordingly.
There are three incidents of chemical weapons use that we can be sure of at this time and multiple others that have yet to be unconfirmed. We would like to remind the international community, including Syria, that on September 27th of 2013 the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2118 that adopted a framework for the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria. Resolution 2118 called for the complete destruction of chemical weapons in Syria by mid-2014 because they threaten the peace and security of the world. Shortly after this agreement, when the OPCW went to inspect Syria they were denied access and turned away. This is unacceptable. For us to be able to successfully be sure that chemical weapons will no longer be used against the Syrian people the Australia Group must have immediate access. There is major concern about the rest of the Middle East if the proliferation of chemical weapons is to continue in Syria and ultimately the problem will spread and numerous more lives will be lost, this must be avoided at all costs.
We are confident that if this is handled the appropriate way, with us gaining full access to Syria as well as the destruction of all chemical weapons that in three years Syria and the surrounding countries will be free of chemical weapons and no more lives will be lost in this way. We want the people of the world to be free from the harm that chemical weapons cause and are optimistic that if we are able to rid Syria of chemical weapons that in ten years it will be a much safer place to be for all life.
We would like to reiterate that the crimes that are taking place in Syria are unacceptable and violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention, of which they are a signatory, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2118. We seek immediate responses from the international community in order to stop these human rights violations and call upon the Syrian government to let us have immediate access to your country to ensure that no more of these atrocities will be committed. Chemical weapons have no place in this world and their use must no longer continue under any circumstance.