U.S. Envoy: Russia Shielded Assad From ‘Justice’ on Chemical Strikes

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power addresses the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. Power condemned Russia's veto of a measure to refer the Syrian civil war to the International Criminal Court.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
Add to Briefcase
Diane Barnes
May 22, 2014, 10:52 a.m.

A seni­or U.S. en­voy ac­cused Rus­sia of giv­ing its Syr­i­an ally in­ter­na­tion­al cov­er for its al­leged past use of chem­ic­al weapons against op­pon­ents.

Am­bas­sad­or Sam­antha Power leveled the as­ser­tion on Thursday, after Mo­scow and Beijing blocked ap­prov­al of a U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil pro­pos­al for the In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Court to ex­am­ine pos­sible vi­ol­a­tions of in­ter­na­tion­al law in Syr­ia’s 3-year-old civil war. More than 160,000 people have died in the con­flict, a Brit­ish watch­dog or­gan­iz­a­tion said this week.

“Be­cause of the de­cision by the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion to back the Syr­i­an re­gime no mat­ter what it does, the Syr­i­an people will not see justice today,” said Power, Wash­ing­ton’s chief del­eg­ate to the United Na­tions.

The dip­lo­mat said Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment has “car­ried out chem­ic­al-weapons at­tacks and bar­rel-bomb at­tacks with the full con­fid­ence that mean­ing­ful ac­tion by this coun­cil would be ob­struc­ted.”

Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. dip­lo­mat, Rus­sia’s vote si­lenced vic­tims of a nerve-agent strike that killed hun­dreds of people last sum­mer. Mo­scow has joined the re­gime in blam­ing rebel forces for any use of chem­ic­al arms in the con­flict.

“The rep­res­ent­at­ives from Syr­ia, and per­haps Rus­sia, may sug­gest that the res­ol­u­tion voted on today was biased,” Power said. “I agree — it was biased in the dir­ec­tion of es­tab­lish­ing facts.”

Mo­scow ad­op­ted a dif­fer­ent tack, by prais­ing a joint chem­ic­al-arms dis­arm­a­ment ini­ti­at­ive de­vised after the Aug. 21 sar­in-gas strike. The at­tack ini­tially promp­ted U.S. dis­cus­sion of a po­ten­tial mil­it­ary re­sponse, but those threats sub­sided after Dam­as­cus agreed to a Rus­si­an-U.S. plan for dis­mant­ling its chem­ic­al-ar­sen­al un­der in­ter­na­tion­al su­per­vi­sion.

“When that unity is present we man­age to achieve con­crete pos­it­ive res­ults,” Vi­taly Chur­kin, Rus­sia’s U.N. rep­res­ent­at­ive, said in a state­ment to the Se­cur­ity Coun­cil after the vote.

The Rus­si­an en­voy then singled out France, the au­thor of Thursday’s draft res­ol­u­tion.

Al­lud­ing to com­ments made by French For­eign Min­is­ter Laurent Fabi­us on more re­cent chem­ic­al-strike al­leg­a­tions, Chur­kin ac­cused the top French dip­lo­mat of ex­ploit­ing “his re­cent vis­it to Wash­ing­ton to cri­ti­cize the United States for re­fus­ing to shower mis­siles and bombs on Syr­ia last fall.”

The Rus­si­an dip­lo­mat also noted that the United States has been “re­luct­ant” to re­cog­nize the In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Court. The tribunal is based The Hag­ue, Neth­er­lands.

What We're Following See More »
SENATE JUDICIARY HEARING
Sally Yates to Testify on May 8
0 minute ago
THE LATEST
MESSAGE TO PUTIN
U.S. To Conduct Exercises In Estonia
21 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.

Source:
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT YIELDS 87 VOTES IN FAVOR
Senate OKs Perdue as Agriculture Secretary
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It took long enough, but the Trump administration finally includes an Agriculture secretary. "The Senate easily approved Sonny Perdue on Monday" by a count of 87-11. Perdue enjoyed the support of Democrats like Delaware's Chris Coons and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, both of whom spoke in his favor.

Source:
ANOTHER ETHICAL THICKET
State Department Highlights Mar-a-Lago in Advertisement
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A media arm of the State Department is using federal resources to promote President Donald Trump’s private Florida golf club, fueling scrutiny of the nexus between the president’s official duties and his personal financial interests." On April 4, "Share America, the State Department’s social media-friendly news website, paid homage to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club ... hailing the president’s use of 'the winter White House, as Share America dubbed it, to host world leaders."

Source:
NOT WORRIED ABOUT BUDGET NEUTRALITY
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
19 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login