US Rejects Russian-Proposed UN Mechanism to Probe Syria Chemical Attacks

25 January, 2018, 02:22 | Author: Kim Reid
  • US Rejects Russian-Proposed UN Mechanism to Probe Syria Chemical Attacks

It was the strongest moment of a conference that France called to launch a new worldwide partnership aimed as a response to Russia's veto on the matter at the UN Security Council.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that the situation "cannot continue" as such in Syria.

"Russia's failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into question its relevance to the resolution of the overall crisis", Tillerson said, adding there was mounting evidence since April 2014 that Syria still had chemical weapons. The U.S. said in a statement that the pair talked about Russia's role in pressing Syrian President Bashar Assad's government to participate in United Nations -led peace talks.

Russian Federation used its council veto past year three times to prevent the so-called Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, from carrying out its mandate to find out who had perpetrated chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

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Foreign ministers and diplomats from 24 countries endorsed on Tuesday a set of commitments aimed at strengthening cooperation in the fight against chemical weapons amid reports of a suspected attack using such prohibited arms in Syria. "We've been firm in our determination to hold parties accountable for the use of chemical weapons, which have killed far too many Syrians", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert tweeted Monday.

A Syrian boy holds an oxygen mask over the face of an infant at a makeshift hospital following a reported gas attack on the besieged, rebel-held town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, on January 22, 2018. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war there have been several reports of chemical weapons attack, with civilian casualties varying according to different sources of information.

The sanctions come as Paris hosts a conference involving senior officials from 30 countries, including US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to pursue those responsible for chemical attacks in Syria.

As Tillerson said, for the U.S., the recent chemical attacks in East Ghouta raised "serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime may be continuing its use of chemical weapons against its own people".

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"At a very minimum, Russian Federation must stop vetoing and at least abstain from future security council votes on this issue", Tillerson said. The regime of Vladimir Putin has repeatedly broken its word, backing the barbarous campaigns of the Syrian government to restore its control over the country by force. "Not only that you reveal the truth, but you show your true colours in front of the global community", said Nebenzia.

Hours before the conference, France said it froze the assets of 25 Syrian companies and executives, alongside French, Chinese and Lebanese enterprises that allegedly provided assistance to the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons.

In November 2017 Russian Federation twice casts its veto at the UN Security Council to block the extension of the UN-led investigation to determine who is behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

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