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4 December 2013 - Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, President of the Security Council

As President of the Security Council I just wanted to say first that all the Security Council members have expressed their appreciation of the joint Mission that Mrs Kaag is leading. Not only are they doing a great job, but they are doing it in very dangerous circumstances. They are risking their lives and we have all saluted their dedication to our joint effort.

The second point is the assessment that the first phase of the implementation of resolution 2118 was well proceeded. Now we are facing two types of difficulties. The first one is the transportation of the chemical agents to the port of Latakia. Everything will depend on the security on the roads which is still doubtful considering the civil war; the second one being the transportation out of the country and the destruction and the disposal of the chemical agents. We are looking forward to these two new phases in the months ahead.

This is a summary of what the feeling of the Security Council was. I guess the technical questions will be answered in detail by Mrs Kaag.

Q: is the Security Council or are the members of the Security Council going to provide the Syrian government with the equipment they asked for and armored vehicles?

It is not to the Security Council to provide this equipment; it would be to individual countries. It would be to Mrs Kaag to see what is possible and what is not.

Q: Do you have any indication, given the security concerns on the ground, that you may not be able to carry out this operation?

You have to ask to Sigrid Kaag, she will explain for instance that when she had to go from Damascus to Latakia to simply inspect the capabilities of the port, she has to go to Beirut and from Beirut she has to go by helicopter to Latakia. It says that for the moment the main roads which are necessary for transportation are not secured.

Q: The first stages of this have gone very well according to plan. I know you don’t want to go into technical details and I will ask her about that but do you believe these next phases are really the crunch point?

They are the next crunch point. The first ones were whether it was possible to have access and to prepare the transportation of the chemical agents. It has been possible. Now, the next questions are if you cannot transport the chemical agents from the sites to the port of Latakia, everything is blocked.

Q: A UN staff member has been killed yesterday. Was he a staff of the Mission or another UN staff? Also has France made a contribution to the OPCW trust fund?

On the first question, you have to ask Mrs Kaag what was the exact status of the personal you are referring to. As President of the Security Council, I expressed our political and moral support to what the Mission is doing and expressed our strong condemnation of any attack. Mrs Kaag has described in a very personal and moving way all the risks the local personal is taking by simply traveling through the city of Damascus, and crossing the lines to do their job.

As for France, we have provided technical assistance to the Mission.



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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU