UNSC adopts resolution condemning Syria chlorine attacks

Saturday, March 07, 2015
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
New York: The United Nations Security Council has adopted resolution 2209 condemning the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict with 14 votes in favour and 1 abstention. 

In an explanation of his nation's abstention, Venezuelan Ambassador Rafael Ramírez said that that the resolution prejudges the result of the investigation being conducted by the Organization for the Prevention of the use of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which it believes should be completed before such resolutions are adopted.

Recalling resolution 2118, which required the verification and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, the Council reiterated that no side in the conflict should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons. 

Ramírez pointed to the information provided by the OPCW that all chemical weapons have been removed from Syria, which reaffirms the Syrian Government's compliance with resolution 2118.  

He said "we wish to responsibly call attention to the fact that the resolution from which we have abstained on voting, opens the dangerous path to the use of force which will jeopardize the dialogue that has begun, under the terms of the Moscow and Cairo initiatives, to put an end to the conflict in a peaceful manner."

In her statement, US Ambassador Samantha Power said that the OPCW's fact-finding mission was not mandated to assign the culpability for the attacks, but reported a list of 32 witnesses who saw or heard the sound of helicopters over three opposition held villages at the time of the attacks. She said "So, let's ask ourselves who has helicopters in Syria? Certainly not the opposition. Only the regime does and we have seen them use their helicopters in countless other attacks on innocent Syrians using barrel bombs."

Speaking to reporters after the vote Syrian Ambassador Bashar Al- Jaafari said that what we have witnessed today "reflects the bad intentions" of those who drafted the resolution and "reminds us of very bad souvenirs that go back to Iraq's invasion by the same co-drafters and drafters under the pretext of the so-called chemical weapons." 

He added that "the statements you heard in the Security Council are hypocritical and filled with lies. It reminds us of what they did to Iraq. It reminds us what they did to other countries. They destroyed Yougoslavia based on false pretences. They destroyed Iraq based on false pretences. And they destroyed Sudan based on false pretences. They adopted a resolution regarding Libya under what is called the protection of civilians, yet they still killed over 150,000 Libyan civilians and destroyed Libya. So these countries do not deserve to be Permanent Members of the Security Council."

Through this resolution, the Security Council decided, in the event of future non-compliance with the chemical weapons ban, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. 

More than 200,000 people have been killed by the conflict that has sent over 6 million people fleeing to neighbouring states. -UNifeed
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