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No hopes UN SC could adopt soon resolution on chemical weapons in Syria - Russian envoy

According to Vassily Nebenzia, the U.S. considers the Russian draft resolution "defective"
Russia’s permanent UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
Russia’s permanent UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya
© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

UN, February 10. /TASS/. Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Organization Vassily Nebenzia does not see chances the Security Council (SC) could adopt any time soon the Russian draft resolution on probe into use of chemical weapons in Syria, as the U.S. considers it "defective."

"We have never doubted we need an independent mechanism of probing into the chemical incidents in Syria, and this is why we have suggested the new resolution, which the experts study now, but, honestly speaking, due to the U.S. position I cannot hope it may be adopted any time soon," the diplomat told Russian reporters on Friday.

By now, he continued, the SC members had two rounds of expert consultations, "and everything has stopped" at that stage. During the talks, the U.S. side called the Russian draft resolution "defective" and insisted the UN Joint Investigative Mechanism and OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) resumed work on the investigation into the chemical attacks, continuing to blame Moscow for having "killed" it.

The Joint Mechanism stopped as the U.S. and other countries voted against Russia’s draft resolution on improvement of the investigative commission’s work. "Correct, formally they have not used the right to veto, but they simply dumped the resolution," the ambassador said. Thus it is "their, not our responsibility for the Joint Mechanism’s death."

U.S. position

According to the Russian ambassador, he could not understand "why the Americans want an independent mechanism for investigation into the chemical incidents in Syria, since they not only prior to the investigation, but prior to a confirmation the chemical weapons have been used," start blaming immediately the Syrian authorities. "To my simple question what political and military dividends the Syrian government receives from use of chemical weapons, they would not give response and shamefully look away," the diplomat said. For quite a long time, he continued, the U.S. has been insisting at OPCW in the Hague on a resolution condemning Damascus, which further on should be forwarded to the UN SC.

In January, Russia presented a draft resolution on the UN Independent Mechanism for an initial term of one year. Moscow suggested the commission could replace the Joint Investigative Mechanism, which stopped working in November, 2017.

Position on Syrian settlement

The Russian ambassador expressed confident a lacking investigative mechanism cannot hinder the peaceful settlement process in Syria, which continues since 2011. "The lack of a mechanism does not hinder the political settlement in Syria," he said. "The political settlement in Syria is a separate track."

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in late January gave an impetus to the peaceful process under auspices of the UN in Geneva, he continued. He stressed the forum in Sochi "adopted important decisions," including on formation of a constitution commission. "That was our suggestion, we had agreed it with Secretary General [of the UN Antonio Guterres], with [Special Representative] Staffan de Mistura," he said, adding now the UN envoy would be forming that commission and work on preparations for the elections.