Russia: UN findings on Syrian chemical weapons are "complicated"

Russia on Thursday cautioned against "rushing to conclusions" on a UN report's findings that Syria had used chemical weapons twice despite a ban, while Britain said it would pursue a UN Security Council resolution seeking accountability.

The report, which was circulated to the council and seen by dpa on Wednesday, said that there was enough evidence to link the Syrian army to two chlorine attacks and to link the Islamic State to a mustard gas attack since 2014.

Under a 2013 Security Council resolution, Syria was required to get rid of its chemical weapons stockpile and end attacks using toxic chemicals.

Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN, said that the report was "very complicated" and its findings needed to be studied carefully before further steps could be taken.

"It's not as simple as that," Churkin said. "One should not be rushing to conclusions, one has to work very deliberately."

He said he had already discussed the report with Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, and the two countries would work together to "see what can be done on the basis" of the report.

Britain said it would seek a resolution along with other members of the council in response to the report.

"We want to see people held to account for what's happened," said Peter Wilson, deputy British ambassador to the UN.

Depending on Russia's approval, the resolution could range from a mere condemnation to stronger measures such as sanctions.

In depth coverage

UN: Syrian government has carried out two chemical weapons attacks

The Syrian government has carried out at least two attacks involving chlorine since 2014, while the Islamic state extremist group has used mustard gas, according to a confidential UN report seen by dpa Wednesday.

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Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 01:13
Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 23:41

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