Russia proposes new investigative body for chemical weapons use in Syria, U.S. remains wary

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-24 10:02:36|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Tuesday proposed a new investigative body under the auspices of the Security Council to determine the perpetrators of chemical weapons use in Syria, but the United States remained wary of the Russian move.

In an open meeting on Syria, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Vassily Nebenzia proposed a new international investigative body that would be able to establish evidence for the Security Council to identify perpetrators in the use of chemical weapons.

He said his delegation has drawn up a draft resolution and asked for its circulation among the delegations.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, however, doubted Russia's intentions, noting that Russia used its veto three times in 2017 to stop the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations for chemical weapons use in Syria.

"So we're not going to accept any Russian proposal that undermines our ability to get to the truth or that politicizes what must be an independent and impartial investigation," Haley told the same meeting.

The joint UN-OPCW panel, which was called "a complete failure" and "a mechanism for political manipulation" by the Russian ambassador, was set up in 2015 and unanimously endorsed by the Security Council.

Haley indicated that the Russian proposal was a distraction from a French-led International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, which was launched on Tuesday in Paris with the participation of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Previous reports by the JIM have found that both the Syrian government forces and the Islamic State group in the country were using chemical weapons.