UN draft aims to prevent chemical weapons use by terrorists in Syria

Russia and China have introduced a draft resolution at the UN Security Council aiming to prevent terrorists in Syria and the region from using chemical weapons, Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN, said Wednesday.

Churkin said that current resolutions prohibiting the use of chemical weapons in Syria are not enough to address this threat and the draft, which he called a "fairly simple" text, would fill that "gap."

"We realized that there was a loophole, a missing link - we do not do any work on the possibility of terrorists actually preparing to build a chemical weapon," Churkin said.

The ambassador said that the resolution would call on UN member states to report any chemical weapons use or preparations to build such weapons by nonstate actors to the council.

"It may be seen as a limited step, but we believe that this step is necessary and it may serve as a deterrent," Churkin said.

He said that close monitoring would also deter terrorists from using chemical weapons and blaming it on Syrian government forces.

Churkin noted that a resolution passed in 2013 on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria did call on member states to monitor and report any such activity by terrorist groups, however, the call has not been implemented.

Last year, the Security Council passed another resolution setting up a monitoring mechanism to identify the perpetrators of chemicals weapons attacks in Syria.

However, Churkin said that the accountability measure was still insufficient against terrorists and the new resolution would "fine tune" its mandate.

Other members of the Security Council have not publicly reacted to the draft resolution, but one diplomat told reporters that there are fears that the new text might undermine the mandate of the current monitoring mechanism.

Last update: Wed, 13/04/2016 - 23:13

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