Moscow said an international task force is poised to re-enter Syria on Wednesday to look further at allegations of chemical-weapons use in the country’s civil war, Reuters reported.
Russia last week criticized the initial U.N. findings that nerve gas was used in an Aug. 21 attack, which have widely been seen to implicate its Damascus ally in that release over a Damascus suburb.
Moscow, though, is “pleased” that the investigators now are expected to probe “other episodes” of possible chemical-weapon use, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday. Russia has joined Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government in blaming such strikes on rebel forces.
States parties to an international chemical-arms ban on Tuesday were consulting on a “draft decision” for dismantling Syria’s chemical arsenal, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons stated. The 41-nation OPCW Executive Council was due on Tuesday to vote on a U.S.-Russian blueprint for monitoring and destroying the stockpile, Reuters reported.
Envoys said the U.N. Security Council could act as soon as Thursday to pass a measure backing the OPCW text. Russia, though, has continued opposing calls by Western governments for the Security Council to endorse possible punitive action for any noncompliance by Damascus.
“There can be no talk of any automatic application of sanctions, let alone the use of force,” Reuters quoted Ryabkov as saying on Tuesday.
Specialists said eliminating the weapons by next June — as the U.S.-Russian disarmament plan demands — would be a challenge for the international community, the New York Times reported on Monday.
“If you want to act quickly, the technical decisions have to be made now, while the diplomats are working,” said Lenny Siegel, head of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight. “This is difficult stuff and it’s costly but the technologies exist — though most people don’t know that.”
Meanwhile, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Monday rejected a Syrian rebel assertion that it had taken custody of chemical arms from Syria, the Daily Star reported.
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California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."
In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "One of the things that I’m hoping, I and my colleagues have been trying to convince Senator Marco Rubio to run again in Florida. He had indicated he was not going to, but we’re all hoping that he’ll reconsider, because poll data indicates that he is the one who can win for us. He would not only save a terrific senator for the Senate, but help save the majority. ... Well, I hope so. We’re all lobbying hard for him to run again."