The UN Security Council convened on Wednesday to discuss a draft resolution proposed by the US, the UK and France, which would condemn Damascus for the reported use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, delivered an emotional speech that included images of children to argue in favor of swift action. The pictures were used in reporting of the alleged chemical weapons attack.
She claimed the incident carried “all hallmarks” of an attack by Damascus, adding that the toxin used in the alleged assault was “more deadly” than in previous cases attributed to the Syrian military by Washington.
US envoy to UN also accused Russia of failing to ensure that there were no chemical weapons in the possession of the Syrian government.
“The truth is that Russia, Iran and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad have no interest in peace,” Haley claimed.
The US has hinted at taking its own action in Syria unless the UN Security Council moves to prevent the use of chemical weapons in the war-torn country.
“When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,” the US ambassador to the UN said.
The UN Security Council convened on Wednesday to discuss a draft resolution proposed by the US, the UK and France, which would condemn Damascus for the reported chemical weapons attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday morning.
Russia criticized the draft resolution for being unbalanced and jumping to conclusions. It said the document would have to include several amendments, such as calling on the rebels controlling the area to provide full access to UN investigators and setting an unbiased and comprehensive probe into the incident as the primary goal of the resolution.
“This draft was penned in haste and adopting it would have been irresponsible,” the Russian deputy acting envoy to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said.
He also blamed Western members of the UNSC for unwillingness to investigate previous cases of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, where rebel groups were accused of using toxin agents.
Earlier the council was briefed by Kim Won-soo, the UN high representative for disarmament affairs, who acknowledged that the organization so far has no independent evidence on the suspected chemical weapons attack.
The Korean diplomat expressed grave concern over the media reports on the incident, saying that if confirmed, it would constitute the deadliest use of chemical weapons in Syria since the Ghouta attack in August 2013.
Kim reported that all chemical weapons declared by the Syrian government had been removed and destroyed. Verification for a handful of sites has not yet been completed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons due to security concerns, he added.
He also said that chemical weapons inspectors are currently in the process of finalizing their findings on several cases of the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria over the past several months. The report will be available in several weeks, Kim said.