Russia: U.N. Chemical-Arms Team Poised to Re-enter Syria


Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 24, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
2 days ago

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
14 hours ago

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.