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White House says Russia undermining Syria chemical probe

The US says Russia is thwarting international law by questioning the flawed OPCW report

(Sputnik) – The White House has accused Russia of attempts to get rid of a UN-OPCW body researching the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, in a statement from the press secretary.

Russia blocked a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution last Tuesday to renew the panel’s mandate before it concluded the seventh report on the 2017 attack in the village of Khan Shaykhun and the 2016 incident in Um-Housh.

“Russia’s attempts to undermine and eliminate the JIM show a callous disregard for the suffering and loss of life caused by the use of chemical weapons and an utter lack of respect for international norms,” the statement read.

The UN-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism published its findings two days later, blaming the attack on the Syrian government. Its mandate expires on November 17.

The White House said it implored the UN to renew JIM’s mandate, while accusing countries that “fail to support its work” of standing in “direct opposition of all standards of reasonable international conduct.”

Russian envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said the fate of the independent body, which was established by a unanimous UN Security Council vote, would be decided in due time once it was determined that the investigation was being conducted in a professional manner.

The Permanent Mission of Russia to the United Nations criticized the report, saying that it looked more like an amateur document and was based mostly on assumptions and the selective use of facts.

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