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Chemical weaponsRussia blocks extension of UN’s mandate to investigate Assad’s chemical weapons usage

Published 26 October 2017

On Tuesday, Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution to extend the mandate of the institution investigating chemical weapon attacks in Syria. The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), whose mandate expires next month, was established in 2015 to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks. A decision on its renewal must be made by 17 November.

On Tuesday, Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution to extend the mandate of the institution investigating chemical weapon attacks in Syria.

The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), whose mandate expires next month, was established in 2015 to identify the perpetrators of chemical attacks. A decision on its renewal must be made by 17 November.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the “Russian veto stops U.N. investigators attributing responsibility for chemical weapons use. But it won’t stop the UK working to get victims justice.”

U.K. ambassador to the UN, Mathew Rycroft, said the Russian veto was “simply beyond the pale” in a speech to the Council. He added, “Russia has chosen to again abuse the veto to support a regime that has no regard for its own people. The only beneficiaries of a delay will be the users of chemical weapons in Syria; Daesh and the Syrian regime.”

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley agreed, saying that Russia had sided with “dictators and terrorists.”

BICOM reports that Russia claims it wanted to postpone a vote extending the mandate until after the JIM submits its report on the Khan Sheikhoun attack in April, due this week, which killed more than 80 people. Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia argued that Russia “did not close the JIM. We simply did not take a decision on extending it today.”

This was the ninth time Russia has used its veto to block Security Council action against the Syrian regime. Bolivia joined Russia in voting against the 11 countries who favored extending the mandate, with China and Kazakhstan abstaining.