(Newswire.net — October 26, 2017) — Russia vetoed UNSC resolution on renewing Syria’s chemical weapons probe. It sparked an outburst of criticism in the media condemning Moscow for “aligning with dictators and terrorists.”
“Russia uses veto to end UN investigation of Syria chemical attacks,” The Guardian reacts in a top story article. “Russia vetoes UN resolution to find out who carried out chemical weapons attacks in Syria,” proclaims Independent’s top story headline just above a heartbreaking photo of two toddlers in a hospital on a respiratory machine.
There is not a word in either of those articles, however, about why Moscow prevented the renewal of the UN mission mandate. The fact is that Russia and Bolivia vetoed the renewal until they can see the report on what the Mission established so far on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The report exists, according to the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). The Mission is scheduled to deliver the report later this week on the alleged chemical weapon attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4.
Washington, however, insisted the Security Council votes on the new mandate before the report is presented.
Moscow didn’t want to write a blank check to extend OPCW mandate until JIM goes public with their findings so far, according to Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya. He said he was “amused at how some delegations had read their prepared statements condemning the use of other countries’ veto power” ahead of the actual voting process, Russia Today reports.
But renewing the Syria chemical probe is not what the US had in mind, according to former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford.
“They [Americans] say they want it [OPCW mandate] extended but the behavior by provoking the Russian veto might suggest to suspicious minds they really wanted to kill it,” Ford told Russia Today. He added that Americans want to do that because “They know that an objective report is highly unlikely to produce the finding that they want.”
According to Ford, the acceptance of the UN resolution just days before OPCW is scheduled to disclose the report on using chemical weapons in Syria is “premature and against the normal UN practice.”
The previous OPCW report failed to specify anybody responsible for the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun.