by WorldTribune Staff, January 24, 2018
Russia for years “has looked the other way” as its ally Syria has used chemical weapons on its own citizens, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said at a UN Security Council meeting on Jan. 23.
Calling Russia “complicit in the Assad regime’s atrocities,” Haley cited reports this week that the Assad regime in 2013 had used chlorine gas in an attack on a rebel enclave.
“We know the Assad regime resorts to these brutal tactics when they want to retake territory without any regard for innocent civilians and we know that for years Russia has looked the other way while their Syrian friends use these despicable weapons of war,” Haley said.
Haley’s comments came as Russia circulated a new draft resolution to the Security Council on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia announced Moscow’s proposal to replace the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), the UN panel which investigated the use of chemical weapons. Last year, Russia used its veto power to halt renewal of the panel.
“Russia, all on its own, killed the mechanism we had specifically tasked to identify those responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria,” Haley said. “Russia should look in the mirror before bringing us into the Security Council to talk about chemical weapons.”
Earlier on Jan. 23, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson voiced his support for a French-led initiative – the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.
The initiative was signed by 25 nations with the aim of preserving information so that perpetrators could eventually be held accountable for their use of chemical weapons.
Haley noted that Russia voiced concerns about the French initiative.
“What can we conclude? Simply put, when Russia doesn’t like the facts, they try and distract the conversation,” Haley said.