New Zealand welcomes the release of a report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which attributes responsibility to the Syrian Arab Air Force for chemical weapons use in Syria.

The report by the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) for Syria has found the Syrian Arab Air Force dropped M4000 aerial bombs containing sarin on the village of Ltamenah on 24 and 30 March 2017. The report also concludes a Syrian Arab Air Force helicopter dropped a cylinder of chlorine on the Ltamenah hospital on 25 March 2017.

As part of our strong support for international humanitarian law, New Zealand is a longstanding supporter of the global prohibition against chemical weapons.  We played an active role in securing the June 2018 decision by States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to establish the IIT to formally identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks.

New Zealand condemns the use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone and under any circumstances. The use of chemical weapons is an egregious violation of international law, for which New Zealand believes there must be no impunity.

The IIT report is an important step towards accountability for those who have been found to be responsible for chemical weapons use in Syria.

New Zealand continues to have full confidence in the OPCW and in the professionalism, integrity and impartiality of its staff, including the officials that produced the IIT report.

New Zealand welcomes the opportunity to work constructively with other countries to respond to the findings of this report.

New Zealand is a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention that prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, as well as the 1925 Geneva Protocol that prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons in war.