Russia one again announced it was opposing a draft UN resolution to extend the mandate of an international inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria hours after it rejected a report by the international inquiry blaming the Assad regime for a deadly toxic gas attack.
Moscow had previously vetoed nine UN Security Council draft resolutions condemning the Assad regime, with members of the Council expressing outrage over the Russian decision.
Russia’s latest decision has cast doubt on the UN Security Council’s ability to extend the mandate of the UN/OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) before it expires next week.
JIM’s report found that the Assad regime was to blame for a sarin attack on the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens of people in April 4, including many children and women.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Rahman Mustafa said that Russia continues to hinder international action on Syria in an attempt to shield perpetrators of war crimes from answering for their actions. He warned that the Russian position risks opening the door to a world in which war criminals commit crimes without any fear of the consequences.
Mustafa pointed out that in every time Russia used its veto power its aims was to shield the Assad regime and give it more time to kill and displace Syrian civilians.
Deputy British UN Ambassador Jonathan Allen told the UN Security Council that “Russia is trying to shoot the messenger to cover up for the crimes of the Syrian regime.”
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that “anyone who prevents us from achieving this goal is aiding and abetting those who have been using chemical weapons.”
“They are helping to ensure, not just that more women and children will die, but that those women and children will die in one of the cruelest, most painful ways possible,” Haley said. She noted that there could be no higher priority for the UN Security Council than renewing the JIM mandate. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)