By Matthew Russell Lee, for InnerCityPro.com
UNITED NATIONS, August 7 -- After the UNSC on August 7 adopted a resolution on an accountability mechanism for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, on the steps leading out from the UNSC stakeout Russia's Vitaly Churkin said “I hope it will translate into our continued joint work on the political front. We are working, I think very well, on a PRST [Presidential Statement] in support of Staffan de Mistura’s efforts. I hope it will be adopted early next week. So I hope we will maintain the momentum.
On the US, Churkin said “we have been working in close contact. Minister Lavrov and Secretary Kerry have been talking about that, and I think one can say there is a greater commonality of the understanding of the complexity of the issue there. Some of the short cuts which were voiced by our Western colleagues, when the conflict was breaking out, they didn't really work. They exacerbated the situation. But we still do not have complete understanding of what needs to be done. And one element particularly clear is that our Western colleagues do not yet accept we need to focus primarily on the terrorist threat in Syria and Iraq, our joint struggle against ISIL.”
“ As you know, we have proposed the concept of an anti terrorist front in Syria and Iraq, but at this point, we don’t have the required unity of the international community. Mostly because the US and other Western countries in the Security Council do not want to involve the Syrian government in that joint struggle, which in our view is wrong, it undermines the effectiveness of the effort, and speaking about chemical weapons which were addressing today, it’s in contrast to what happened during the operation for the destruction of chemical, the Syrian chemicaal arsenal, where everyone was cooperating with the Syrian government. So we could do it then, why cannot we do it now, under the very serious challenge posed to the international community by ISIL and other terrorist groups fighting in Syria,” Churkin said.
“We continue our discussions, I think it would be an important step. We do have that PRST in support of de Mistura, I think, in my recollection it would be the first consensus document of the Security Council on the political aspects of the settlement of the Syrian crisis. So, we continue, “Churkin said. Asked about barrel bombs, he said that wasn't the day's topic, and left.
Inside the Council after the vote, Syria's Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari began his speech with a reference to the 70th anniversary of the US dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He went to to say the UN never investigated the use of chemical weapons, by rebels he said, in Khan al Asal.
One expected a US reply on Hiroshima, but there was none. Inside the Council, US Samantha Power delivered a speech; at the stakeout, questions were given to Reuters (anti) Iran expert, State Department affiliated Al Hurra (really, France 24, by mistake), and also State Department affiliated Voice of America. (We'll have a separate piece on Power's response to the Press' final question about Burundi).
Churkin in his post-vote speech inside the Council said that “the existing mechanics of the UN and OPCW do not have a mandate to identify those participating in such acts. Moreover, we became witnesses of the many politicized statements in this regard, which were clearly meant to be propaganda. It was necessary to eliminate this gap, which was done with the adoption of today’s resolution... Any efforts in the Syrian area must be in line with assisting a search for a political solution to the conflict.”
Why would the US and Russia be close to agreeing on a PRST about de Mistura's work? This question was not asked, or allowed. Inner City Pro will have more.