Security Council: Explanation of vote on US UNIMI Draft Resolution

Statement by Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York

New York, 10 April 2018

Mr President,

In my statement yesterday, I urged this Council not to stand idly by and to watch as a spectator while chemical weapons are being used in Syria.

In our opinion, this Council should act, should condemn, should protect and should hold to account. These elements are all reflected in the draft resolution, put forward by the United States.

And that is why the Kingdom of the Netherlands voted in favor of this draft resolution. We thank the US delegation for the drafting of the text. We appreciate earlier rounds of negotiations and the flexibility displayed on occasion of yesterday’s late-night round.

With others, we are extremely disappointed that an attempt to set up an effective mechanism of attribution on the use of chemical weapons has failed once again.

Today, we witnessed the 12th Russian veto on Syria overall, including 6 pertaining to chemical weapons.

As I said yesterday, if you claim that the chemical weapons attack in Syria is a fabrication, do not veto this resolution. By vetoing this resolution, the Russian Federation assumes a heavy responsibility. A responsibility for continued impunity for the horrible use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Because of this permanent member this Council is not even able to condemn the use of chemical weapons attack last weekend in Douma. An attack where the White Helmets once again demonstrated their unwavering commitment to their lifesaving work in the most difficult circumstances.

Mr President, as to the draft resolution proposed by the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of the Netherlands will vote against. This draft falls short in every possible way.

It seems that the Russian Federation is not able to support an independent impartial investigative mechanism. It seems it can only accept a mechanism in which itself can decide when, where and how and by whom the investigation will be conducted, leaving the mandate to attribute to this Council subject to its veto.

Mr. President, this cannot be the end of this. The Security Council cannot remain passive in the face of these atrocities committed in Syria. We must continue to work for an effective attribution mechanism, inside and outside of this Council.

Mr. President, impunity cannot prevail.

Thank you.

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