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Lavrov plays down chances of passing US draft resolution on Syria's JIM mandate

November 16, 15:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The mandate expires on November 17

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© AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. The US draft of the UN Security Council’s resolution on prolonging the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for investigating chemical attacks in Syria has no chances of being adopted, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

"The US draft is aimed at making not a single change, not a single letter in the actions being taken by this mechanism in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Its sole purpose is to prolong the mechanism’s mandate and to welcome and approve the methods the mechanism has been using. Clearly, this is absolutely unacceptable," Lavrov said. "For this reason the US resolution has no chances at all for being adopted."

"They are trying to convince us that the mechanism is working in a right way, and this is full disrespect of our experts’ intellectual skills. We have distributed all our detailed questions and analysis and they are available to the public," Lavrov said.

Russia’s top diplomat noted that Moscow has suggested changes in its draft resolution currently under the consideration by the UN Security Council. The document is aimed at "an unbiased work of this mechanism as required under the Chemical Weapons Convention."

Washington’s vetoing of Russia’s draft resolution on extending the mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism on Syria’s chemical attacks will only mean the US desire to preserve it as a tool for manipulation, Lavrov said.

"If our draft is stonewalled by the Americans or the Americans jointly with their allies, this will only mean that they don’t need the truth on who and how used chemical weapons. They need to keep this investigative mechanism as an obedient tool of manipulating the public opinion and all UN member-states," Lavrov said.

Two draft resolutions

The JIM’s mandate expires on November 17. In late October, the JIM unveiled its seventh report blaming the Syrian authorities for the sarin attack in Khan Shaykhun on April 4. They also said that the Islamic State (terror group, outlawed in Russia) was responsible for using sulfur mustard in the September 2016 attack in Umm Hawsh.

Two days earlier, Russia vetoed the US-drafted resolution on extending the mandate for another year, calling to wait until the publication of another report. Later, Russia presented its assessments of the report by the investigators, saying it is "amateurish."

On November 2, Russia and the United States submitted to the UN Security Council their draft resolutions on extending the Joint Investigative Mechanism’s mandate. The two documents have different timeframe - the Russian draft extends the mandate until May 16, 2018, while the US version gives the mission 24 months since the adoption of the resolution. The text submitted by the US delegation paves the way for measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows sanctions and the use of force, for attacks involving chemical weapons. The Russian draft calls for revision of the mission’s earlier conclusions, because, in Moscow’s view, the investigation did not conform to international standards. The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that the US draft resolution was unacceptable.

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