US blames UN for spike in chemical weapons attacks
The U.S. warned the UN Security Council Wednesday of an alarming increase in chemical weapons attacks one year after a deadly nerve agent was deployed on civilians in northwestern Syria, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
Addressing the council, U.S. UN envoy Nikki Haley said the UN's inability to reign in the Bashar al-Assad regime after successive chemical attacks it is blamed for has prompted other countries to carry out their own illicit actions.
"Our lack of action has consequences. When we let one regime off the hook, others take notice," she said. "The use of nerve agents in Salisbury and Kuala Lumpur proves this point and reveals a dangerous trend. We are rapidly sliding backward, crossing back into a world that we thought we left."
Haley was referring to a nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in England blamed on Russia and a fatal attack on the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un blamed on Pyongyang.
The attacks were carried out over the past year after a deadly chemical attack on the northwestern Syrian city of Khan Sheikhoun, blamed on the Assad regime, killed dozens of people.
The Security Council convened Wednesday to discuss chemical weapons use in Syria on the anniversary of that attack, which stirred international outrage.
The Syrian regime has carried out 11 chemical attacks since Khan Sheikhoun, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
Russia maintained Wednesday the Syrian regime has not carried out any chemical weapons attacks as its UN envoy said Moscow supports the Secretary General's calls to unite against the chemical weapons threat.
Vassily Nebenzia called for an open Security Council meeting on Thursday to discuss the U.K. nerve attack.
Karen Pierce, the U.K.'s UN envoy, told reporters before the council convened that London urges all nations to take the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons "very seriously", pointing directly to Moscow.
"One of the reasons the P5 exists is to be the guardians of non-proliferation, so we will be calling on the Russians to try and help us find a way of stopping their use," she said, referring to the Security Council's five permanent members.
"We are exploring all ways of getting that accountability. You will know that it was the Russians who blocked the Joint Investigative Mechanism, so this has deprived us of one obvious international tool, but we will be talking to all our colleagues on the Security Council and in the [General Assembly] about how best to take this forward," she added.
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