Ambassador Haley on the Inability of the UN Security Council to Establish an Independent Investigative Mechanism on Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
April 10, 2018

Russia Impedes Council Action Yet Again

Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, delivered remarks at three separate UN Security Council meetings on the use of chemical weapons in Syria that were held in an attempt to respond to the latest chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria. During the first meeting, Russia blocked a U.S.-drafted resolution to establish a new independent investigative mechanism on chemical weapons use in Syria that otherwise would have been adopted if not for Russia’s veto. In the second and third meetings, Russia proposed draft resolutions on the same issue, neither of which had enough support by Council members to be adopted. It was the sixth time Russia exercised its veto to block an investigation into chemical weapons attacks in Syria that have killed hundreds of people.

Remarks Before a Vote on a U.S.-drafted Security Council Resolution to Establish a New Independent Investigative Mechanism on Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

“We have reached a decisive moment as a Security Council. On Saturday, the first haunting images appeared from Douma in Syria. We gathered around this table yesterday to express our collective outrage. We then collectively agreed that this Council must take steps to determine exactly what happened in Douma, and to put an end to these barbaric attacks. The United States has put forward a resolution that accomplishes these shared goals. For weeks, we have been working with every single delegation on this Council to develop a new attribution mechanism for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. We held open and transparent negotiations, so every delegation could provide their input.”

“All of us say we want an independent investigation. Our resolution achieves that goal. Russia’s does not. This is not an issue that more time or more consultations could have resolved. At a certain point, you’re either for an independent and impartial investigation, or you’re not. And now that the Douma attack has happened, this is not a decision that we can delay any longer. The United States calls on all Security Council members to vote in favor of our resolution and to abstain or vote against the Russian draft. The Syrian people are counting on us.”

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Remarks After a Russian Veto of a U.S.-drafted Security Council Resolution and the Failure to Adopt Russia’s First Draft Resolution

The U.S.-drafted resolution received 12 votes in favor and would have passed if not for the Russian veto. The Russian draft received only six votes, an insufficient number to pass.

“Month after month, the Assad regime, with full support of Russia and Iran, has strung along this Council. They ignored our calls for a ceasefire. They ignored our calls for political dialogue. They ignored our calls for deliveries of humanitarian aid. They ignored our calls to stop using chemical weapons – weapons that are universally banned from war. And then, last weekend, the Assad regime forced a moment of reckoning on all of us by gassing people of Douma.”

“The record will show that today, some countries decided to stand up for truth, accountability, and justice for the Syrian people. Most countries saw the horror that took place in Douma last weekend at the hands of the Assad regime and realized that today was a time for action. The United States supports a new independent, impartial mechanism to make attributions for chemical weapons use in Syria and calls for access for first responders to provide medical help and verification‎ without delay. We hoped that the one-year anniversary of the Khan Sheikhoun attack might be the start of a renewed partnership to combat chemical weapons. But these deadly weapons have been used on Syrian families again. And when the people of Douma, along with the rest of the international community, looked to this Council to act, one country stood in the way. History will record that. History will record that, on this day, Russia chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people.”

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Remarks After the Failure to Adopt Russia’s Second Draft Resolution

The second Russian draft received only five votes in favor, an insufficient number to pass.

“And then today, they vetoed for the sixth time a resolution condemning Assad for chemical weapons attacks on his own people. So no matter what we do, Russia will be consistent. They’ll continue to play the games. And once again, they’re putting forward yet another surprise resolution. The first time any of us saw it was today at 11:00 a.m. They held no negotiations. They took no input. And when Sweden asked that the Council be allowed to discuss the resolution, they allowed it, but they didn’t allow any changes to it. So there’s a reason Russia didn’t want to discuss their resolution, because it doesn’t accomplish anything.”

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