Russia and US at odds over keeping Syria chemical experts

Russia said Tuesday it is talking to the United States about renewing the mandate of experts working to determine who was responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but the U.S. says Moscow won’t consider the American draft resolution.

Russia, which is Syria’s most important ally, has submitted a rival draft resolution on renewing the experts’ mandate to the Security Council.

With two days left before Thursday’s expiration of the mandate for the Joint Investigative Mechanism, known as the JIM, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told The Associated Press that “we are engaging with them. … We don’t know whether we can come to an agreement.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said late Monday that “Russia is mouthing words of support for JIM renewal, but those words are not backed up by any actions.”

“Russia has refused to engage on our draft resolution — which the vast majority of council members agree is the most viable text — in spite of our multiple attempts to consider Russian concerns,” said the spokesperson, who wasn’t authorized to be quoted by name. “The draft text Russia put forward without any negotiation is unhelpful, has no support, and cannot be taken seriously.”

Russia vetoed a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution on Oct. 24 that would have renewed the mandate of the experts from the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Nebenzia said at the time that Moscow wanted to see a JIM report on attacks, which was issued two days later.

When the JIM report was discussed in the council on Nov. 7, Russia clashed with the U.S. and other Western nations over its findings.

The JIM’s leaders said they were “confident” that Syria’s government was responsible for an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 using sarin that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others who survived “acute exposure” to the nerve agent. The conclusion supported the initial findings by the United States, France and Britain, but Syria insists it has not used chemical weapons.

The JIM experts also said they were “confident” the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for an attack at Um Hosh in Aleppo in September 2016 using mustard gas.

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the U.N., Vladimir Safronkov, dismissed the JIM’s findings about Khan Sheikhoun as “mythical or invented.”

Just Posted

Rebels drop home opener to Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings were simply better than the Red Deer Rebels… Continue reading

Diesel spilled in Penhold neighbourhood

Penhold Fire Department responded

House fire in Penhold

Damage estimated at $30,000

Red Deer Players host play reading for public

Audience feedback for playwright

Sylvan Lake cleanup cancelled

Weather prompts cancellation

RDC Kings topple Medicine Hat College Rattlers

Kings Matheus Alves scores twice in the win

Nurse leads Canada over South Korea 82-63 at FIBA Women’s World Cup

TENERIFE, Spain — Kia Nurse poured in 29 points to lift Canada… Continue reading

Aretha Franklin exhibit debuts with eye toward her legacy

DETROIT — The Detroit museum that hosted Aretha Franklin’s public visitations after… Continue reading

‘Anaana’s Tent’ passes Inuit songs, legends, language to a new generation

In Pangnirtung, Nunavut, on the eastern tip of Baffin Island, Rita Claire… Continue reading

Housing data decision opens door to real estate innovation, say realtors

TORONTO — Realtor Daniel Steinfeld has wanted to post home sales data… Continue reading

Ty Long kicks winning field goal, Lions come back to beat Ticats in OT

VANCOUVER — Ty Long was eager for a special moment, and he… Continue reading

Indigenous eateries take centre stage in Canada thanks to increasing awareness

VANCOUVER — Since Paul Natrall started serving Indigenous cuisine from his Mr.… Continue reading

Canada’s capital region reeling after intense tornado rips through communities

OTTAWA — Parts of Canada’s national capital were still reeling Saturday after… Continue reading

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns… Continue reading

Most Read