By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, October 7 -- The Security Council proceeded on Syria with a briefing about the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the use of chemicals as weapons Syria on October 7, after which the UN's acting High Representative for Disarmament Kim “Mr. Jim” Won-soo then Council's President for October Roman Oyarzun Marchesi spoke to the press.
The former spoke on the steps leading from the Council(Periscope video here, with Inner City Press' question about the corruption indictment of former UN General Assembly President John Ashe at the end), the latter transcribed here by InnerCityPro:
“On Syria chemical weapons, the Security Council has been briefed by High Representative for Disarmament Kim Won-soo. He has informed that the process of dismantling and destroying the Syrian chemical arsenal, as declared, is almost successfully completed, more than 98 percent.
“Now the efforts are concentrated in investigating and establishing responsibilities for alleged attacks, using chlorine. These attacks are unacceptable, in the view of international legislation and the Security Council resolutions, inter alia 2118 and 2209. The Council members welcomed the nomination of Ms Virginia Gamba as head of the joint investigative mechanism, and expect that this mechanism will be fully operational soon.
“Mr. Kim reaffirmed that his office is committed to have the JIM mechanism fully in function hopefully as soon as possible. He assured that he is working in coordination with OPCW to select the most appropriate staff to guarantee a professional and independent mechanism. Mr. Kim requested support of the UN members to ensure the necessary funds to make the JIM fully operational. He insisted on two occasions on this need.”
Roman Oyarzun Marchesi was asked about the Russian draft resolution - he said he had been in the consultations all day - and Inner City Press asked if in the Central African Republic consultations UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous had given any update on the allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in CAR. No, was the answer. Periscope video here.
Back on August 7 after long negotiations between the US and Russia, the UN Security Council on August 7 adopted a resolution to establish a so-called accountability mechanism for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Outside the Council before and after the unanimous vote on August 7, Russia's ambassador Vitaly Churkin referred to a Presidential Statement he said may be adopted early next week, to support UN envoy Staffan de Mistura's work.
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.
In its resolution the Security Council “recalls that in its resolution 2118, it decided that the Syrian Arab Republic and all parties in Syria shall cooperate fully with the OPCW and the United Nations.” It seems doubtful that ISIS will cooperate.
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.”
Inside the Council, US Samantha Power delivered this speech. At the stakeout, questions were given to Reuters, Al Hurra (really, France 24, by mistake), and Voice of America. (We'll have a separate piece on Power's response to the Press' final question about Burundi. For now, here'sprevious stakeout, sit-down.
After the meeting ended, on the steps leading out from the UNSC stakeout, 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...” More on InnerCityPro.com.