Statement of the Netherlands to the Conference on Disarmament 29-5-2018

delivered by Mrs. Sachi Claringbould, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

First Secretary at the Conference on Disarmament on the Syrian Arabic Republic’s presidency of the Conference on Disarmament

Mr President,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the EU and will make the following remarks in its national capacity.

 The Conference on Disarmament and its predecessors have negotiated landmark treaties that have sought to prevent the use of atrocious weapons against human kind. Today, the rotating presidency system of this body confronts us with a regime that stands accused of disregarding the very essence that this Conference embodies.

We would like to emphasise that the sole reason for our presence here today is, because of the Netherlands’ commitment to the values of multilateralism. We are here to realize our important goals of disarmament. Dialogue is crucial in this end. We must not inflict further damage on the continuation of the work in the world’s foremost disarmament negotiation forum.

At the same time, we want to reiterate that the Syrian regime does not have the moral authority nor the credibility to carry out the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament.

Our presence here today does not conflict in any way with our efforts to pursue justice for the Syrian people. International rights law, International humanitarian law and the Chemical Weapon Convention have been violated repeatedly and systematically in the Syrian conflict.

No regime, no government, no non-state actor can violate or disregard international humanitarian law or disarmament norms. Syria is the most poignant modern example of the effects of impunity. If we cannot hold any actor accountable for its deeds, impunity will reign. The Netherlands will continue to work with international partners to end such impunity. It might not be today or tomorrow, but the Syrian regime will be held accountable in the end.

The norms this Conference and its predecessors have established and the treaties that have been negotiated here, are paramount to our security and embody the terrible lessons war has taught us throughout history.

They should be upheld, by all members. We expect nothing less, especially from the presidency.

Thank you.