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Russia, China initiative to stop chemical attacks in Syria backed by UN Security Council

April 15, 10:25 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
On April 5, Syria’s Al-Ikhbariya TV channel reported that gunmen of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group had used mustard gas missiles against Syrian government troops in Deir ez-Zor province
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© AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

UNITED NATIONS, April 15. /TASS/. The proposal of Russia and China to adopt a resolution on the prevention of the use of chemical weapons by terrorists in Syria has been supported by the UN Security Council. Some diplomats interviewed by TASS on Thursday expressed willingness to study the document submitted to the Security Council on April 13.

The two-page draft resolution condemns the use of any toxic chemical as a weapon by anybody anywhere, as well as demands from countries, especially those neighboring Syria, to immediately report to the UN Security Council any steps by non-state actors aimed at the production, acquisition, transfer, handling and use of chemical weapons and their means of delivery. In addition, it is proposed to give the existing join UN and OPCW mechanism for the investigation of chemical attacks the functions of monitoring for identifying individuals, groups or governments that are involved in this activity.

Angola’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ismael Gaspar Martins said that in his view, it is a good resolution. It is necessary to seriously consider it, because chemical weapons are still applied, whether we like it or not.

UK Permanent Representative to the UN Matthew Rycroft agreed that the issue of the use of chemical weapons requires urgent action by the Security Council, but said it was necessary to carefully consider the response mechanism, so as not to overload the OPCW-UN joint mission. He said that he thought that it was necessary to act promptly and that Russia was right in that sense, but the Council members have not yet decided should that be a resolution or something else.

According to him, it is necessary to carefully consider the right mechanism, given the fact that the OPCW-UN joint mission is now quite busy and is close to establishing who is actually responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. So it should not be distracted from this work, he added. A representative of another Western country said on condition of anonymity that that he agreed with the concept of adopting the resolution, adding, however, that the text proposed by Russia and China should be refined.

New Zealand’s Permanent Representative emphasized the importance of response actions to the use of chemical weapons and said he was ready to examine the document. The question is, he said, that it (the draft resolution) requires a lot of attention form the OPCW-UN joint mission that is quite busy without that.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday that expert consultations on the draft resolution were scheduled to begin on Monday. In turn, Chinese Ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi expressed the hope that the document would be adopted during April, while his country is presiding in the Security Council. "I think that the sooner we adopt the draft resolution, the better for the region and the international community", he said.

On April 5, Syria’s Al-Ikhbariya TV channel reported that gunmen of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group had used mustard gas missiles against Syrian government troops in Deir ez-Zor province. After that the US Department of State confirmed that IS was responsible for using small amounts of mustard gas in Iraq and Syria and said it was discussing the issue with Russia. For his part, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon voiced concern over terrorists’ possible access to nuclear and chemical materials or even weapons. In March, Churkin sent a letter to the UN Security Council, in which he called Turkey a key supplier of weapons and military equipment to IS gunmen. He also noted that terrorists had received explosive substances and chemicals worth $1.9 million via Turkey in 2015.

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