Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Removal of Chemical Weapons Materials from Syria

Ambassador Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York City
June 23, 2014


Today, consistent with United Nations Security Council resolution 2118 and the relevant Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council decisions, the final eight percent of chemical weapons materials in Syria's declaration were removed from the country. This represents a significant step.

The work of the Joint Mission of the United Nations and OPCW demonstrates what can be accomplished when international organizations, including the UN Security Council, are united in purpose and vision. The United States will begin destruction of a large amount of Syria’s declared chemical weapons precursors aboard the M/V Cape Ray.

Looking forward, now that Syria’s declared chemical weapons have been removed or destroyed, the international community must give its urgent attention to serious outstanding issues related to the Assad regime’s chemical weapons program, including the investigation of numerous reports about the systematic use of chlorine as a chemical weapon. We must also resolve discrepancies and omissions related to the Syrian government’s declaration of its chemical weapons program, and we must ensure the destruction of all of Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities.

None of us can afford to forget that on August 21, 2013, Assad's forces launched a brutal chemical attack that killed over 1,400 children, women, and men, reminding us why the world has worked for 100 years to rid the world of chemical weapons. We cannot waver in our resolve to make sure Syria’s chemical weapons program is fully and finally dismantled and eliminated so these weapons can no longer threaten the Syrian people or the rest of the international community.