New Push in UN to End Syria's Chemical Weapons Following Strikes
Albanian Daily News
Published April 15, 2018
The United States, the United Kingdom and France are pushing for an "irreversible" end to Syria's chemical weapons program, amid furious recriminations from Russia over the effectiveness and legality of a wave of US-led missile strikes on Syrian targets.
UN diplomats shared with CNN a new resolution, led by France and backed by the US and the UK, calling for an independent investigation into the suspected chemical weapons attack inside Syria that precipitated the cruise missile strikes unleashed by the Western allies Friday.
France's ambassador to the United Nations, Francois Delattre, said Syria's chemical weapons program must be dismantled in a "verifiable and irreversible way."
The renewed push for a UN-backed diplomatic solution follows a volatile emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, called by Moscow Saturday, with Russia's UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, condemning the joint US-British-French strikes as a violation of international law.
Nebenzia said Friday's missile strikes, targeted at facilities associated with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program, had been a "blow to the political settlement" in the divided Middle Eastern nation.
The Russian-led response to the strikes, though limited to words, comes amid days of building pressure and talk among UN diplomats of a potential new Cold War.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged all Security Council members to show restraint, as US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the meeting that Washington remains "locked and loaded" to respond to any future Syrian chemical attacks.
Outside of the UN, protests against the strikes were held around the world Saturday, including in major cities in the US, Mexico, Greece and the UK.
While some of the protestors came out in support of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime, many others were opposed to the use of military action by Western powers against Syria.
New chemical weapons resolution
Investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria on Saturday to begin their investigation into the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma.
The team met with Syrian authorities in Damascus at 7 p.m. local time on Saturday, according to Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari.
It was the suspected chemical attack which led the Western allies to order the missile strikes, which they lay squarely at the feet of the Syrian regime.
Senior US officials said on Saturday they were confident both chlorine and sarin gas were used in the attack. Both the Syrian and Russian governments have denied Damascus' involvement in the attack.
The new French-led resolution presented to the Security Council would have investigators from the OPCW report their findings to the UN within a new timetable.
A Security Council diplomat told CNN there was no rush to vote on the draft resolution, but an attempt will be made to engage in serious negotiations.
The resolution would also allow a third-party review of humanitarian evacuations from Douma and medical evacuations with no conditions.