Russia is delaying the launch of an international investigation aimed at assigning blame for chemical weapon attacks in Syria, U.N. Security Council diplomats said on Wednesday.
In a letter to the 15-nation council last week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined his plans for an investigation into toxic gas attacks in Syria, to be conducted by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The council was supposed to respond to Ban’s letter within five days. The deadline lapsed on Tuesday and no response has been sent.
Several council diplomats said Russia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, was hesitating. Asked about it at a news conference, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin played down concerns about a delay.
Anas al-Abdah, Secretary of the political committee, said that Russia has been deliberately stalling the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions that call for conducting investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. He added that every delay means a delay in achieving justice to the victims.
“Russia’s attempts to delay the probe aims to cover the crimes committed by the Assad regime, as all available evidence indicates full responsibility for the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population,” Abdah stresses.
“Russia has begun today a new bureaucratic game to gain more time and delay the investigation, let alone its unwavering support for the Assad regime at the military and economic levels as well as the diplomatic cover it provided for Assad for nearly five years.” (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)