The United States announced that it would not stop pressıng the UN Security Council to renew the mandate for the UN-OPCW inquiry into the use of chemical weapons in Syria after Russia vetoed two resolutions submitted to extend the inquiry.
The White Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in the statement on Friday: “On November 16, Russia vetoed the renewal of the United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), once again protecting the Assad regime and terrorists who are using chemical weapons in Syria.”
“By vetoing the renewal of the JIM, Russia has sent a clear message that it does not value the lives of the victims of chemical weapons attacks or respect reasonable standards of international conduct regarding the use of such weapons,” Sanders added.
The statement went on: “The United States will not stop pressing the UN Security Council to renew the JIM’s mandate so that it may continue its important work of identifying the perpetrators of heinous chemical weapons attacks, seeking justice for their victims, and sending a clear message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated by anyone, anywhere.”
After the vote, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said: “For the tenth time on Syria, and the fourth time on chemical weapons, Russia has actively obstructed the international community’s ability to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attack.”
“The message to anyone listening is clear: in effect, Russia accepts the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” Haley added. The Russian veto trigged condemnation by the majority of the UN Security Council’s member states.
Russia vetoed Friday night a last-gasp UN resolution proposed by Japan to extend the mandate of the international inspections of chemical weapons use in Syria.
Twelve UN Security Council member states voted in favor of the resolution, while Bolivia and Russia voted against it and China abstained. It was the second Russian veto in 24 hours.
It is the 11th time Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution since the outbreak of the Syria conflict. Russia on Thursday vetoed a US draft resolution calling for the extension of JIM’s work.
The Syrian Coalition described the UN Security Council’s failure to extend JIM’s work as “shameful” and “damaging the reputation of the United Nations.”
The latest report of the UN-OPCW’s joint inquiry concluded that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of the banned sarin nerve agent in attacks on rebel-held areas, including the April 4 attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)