A Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, on the international operation for Syria’s chemical disarmament

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, 3rd AND 4th JOINT COMMISSIONS, MEETING OF 16 JANUARY 2014

On 16 January 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, accompanied by the Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, Maurizio Lupi, and the Director-General of OPAC, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, reported before the III and IV Commissions of the Chamber of Deputies and the Third and Fourth Commissions of the Senate of the Republic on the steps undertaken by Italy in the context of the international operation for the disarmament of Syria and the destruction of its chemical arsenal. The Minister then expressed Italy’s will to create a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East.

After Mr Lupi recalled OPAC decision of 27 September 2013 on destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and UN Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013) and explained the reasons which led the Italian Government to choose the Gioia Tauro harbour for the transshipment of chemical material from Syria, Ms Bonino stated:

Both the Security Council resolutions and the decision of the OPAC Executive Council have already been recalled. I believe that the offer of an Italian harbour for a mere operation of transshipment integrates into the policy followed by the Italian government since the beginning, namely that of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict, and not into other initiatives also envisaged.

I also believe, on the basis of ongoing consultations, that this opens a wider perspective into the common agreement reached by all States parties to the Non-proliferation Treaty to create a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East.

As you know, this possibility, which dates back a long way, is now materialising with greater awareness. Syrian accession to the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons represents a significant step also in this direction.

Let me add that in this context and for the purpose of this initiative, namely the one of establishing a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East, the Finnish facilitator, Mr Laajava, will be in Italy on Monday for consultations, in order for us to get started on the preparation of a conference in this respect.

She concluded:

Italy thus takes part in this international effort and in this endeavour to destroy chemical weapons, that we consider the starting point to get to a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

The Italian version of the statement can be downloaded here or found at: http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/resoconti/commissioni/stenografici/pdf/0304c0304/indag/c0304_disarmo/2014/01/16/leg.17.stencomm.data20140116.U1.com0304c0304.indag.c0304_disarmo.0001.pdf.

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