MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. Moscow cannot consider the investigation into the chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun, carried out by experts from the UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to be completed, Director of the Armaments Non-Proliferation and Control Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov told TASS on Friday.
While commenting on the Russian draft resolution concerning the mandate of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), submitted to the UN Security Council, he said that "we cannot consider the investigation into the Khan Shaykhun incident to be completed." "The mechanism members need to visit the site in order to carry out all the necessary investigative activities, and also collect samples at the Shayrat air base, where the aircraft carrying a sarin bomb is believed to have departed from. Therefore, the draft [resolution] contains instructions in this connection," he added.
The US-proposed UN Security Council draft resolution is unacceptable, Russia will not support it, Ulyanov said.
"Washington would like to give carte blanche to the JIM and the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to make sure that they act at their own and sole discretion, and there are no rules that would regulate their activities," he said. "It is impossible to agree with that. This approach leads to the fact that the mechanism, instead of being an international justice tool, has turned into a tool for achieving American foreign policy goals, and that’s what we see now. Therefore, of course, we cannot support the American draft resolution, the more so since it also proposes to approve all unsubstantiated accusations against Damascus."
Ulyanov stressed that experts from the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism have overlooked tasks of anti-terror fight.
"When the mandate was extended last time in November 2016, the United Nations Security Council listed among the tasks facing the JIM a number of anti-terrorism provisions," said Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department. "The Jim seems to have overlooked these tasks, focusing on the theory of the use of an air bomb in Khan Sheikhun. So, we have reminded about these tasks and included several additional provisions in the draft resolution."