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Russia suggests UN SC set up new mechanism to probe Syria chemical attacks

According to Russia's UN envoy, it should be a "professional and de-politicized" mechanism

UNITED NATIONS, January 23. /TASS/. Russia has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution on the establishment of a new structure to investigate chemical attacks in Syria that would work "on the basis of scrupulous and incontestable evidence," Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on Tuesday at a Security Council meeting.

"We want to raise above disputes and suggest a new international investigative body be set up to establish facts on the basis of scrupulous and incontestable evidence received by means of transparent and reliable methods so that the Security Council could identify those responsible for the use of poisonous agents as weapons," he said.

In his words, it should be a "professional and de-politicized" mechanism. "We have prepared a corresponding draft resolution and ask the secretariat to circulate it. We hope the Security Council members will discuss our initiative with their capitals as soon as possible," he added.

The mandate of UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in Syria expired on December 18, 2017. The United Nations Security Council members have been failing to reach accord on the extension of its mandate. Russia has thrice vetoed relevant draft resolutions. The JIM was set up by a UN Security Council resolution in August 2015 to identify those responsible for chemical attacks in Syria. The Joint Investigative Mechanism issued seven reports holding the Syrian government to blame for four chemical attacks.

Earlier on Tuesday, Nebenzya said that Russia had always stressed the necessity of demonstrating serious attitude towards chemical terrorism in the Middle East and had always called for investigating each episode of the use of poisonous agents in Syria. The Jim however "has brought discredit on itself" and "has failed the investigation" as it became an instrument of political manipulation, the Russian diplomat stressed.