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On Syria, Chemical Weapons Deaths Trigger UNSC Draft, Here, and Meeting, Kaag in the Wind

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 4 – After the deaths by chemical weapons in Syria, when the UN Security Council convened on April 4 for its meeting on Darfur, the Ambassadors of the UK then Sweden called for an emergency Council meeting. Inner City Press video here. With the meeting then set for April 5, the night before the United States, UK and France circulated a draft resolution: "Recalling the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC) ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic on 14 September 2013, and the Council’s resolutions 1540 (2004), 2118 (2013), 2209 (2015), 2235 (2015), 2314 (2016), and 2319 (2016),

 Expressing its horror at the reported use of chemical weapons in the Khan Shaykhun area of southern Idlib in the Syrian Arab Republic on 4 April 2017 causing large-scale loss of life and injuries, affirming that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law, and stressing that those responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable,

Noting the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has announced, in addition to its ongoing investigation, that its Fact Finding Mission (FFM) is in the process of gathering and analysing information on this incident from all available sources and will report to the OPCW Executive Council,

 Recalling that in resolution 2118 (2013) the Council decided that the Syrian Arab Republic shall not use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons, to other States or non-State actors and underscored that no party in Syria should use, develop produce acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer chemical weapons,

 Determining that the use of chemical weapons in the Syria Arab Republic represents a threat to international peace and security,

1. Condemns in the strongest terms and use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular the attack on Khan Shaykhun reported on 4 April 2017, expresses its outrage that individuals continue to be killed and injured by chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, and expresses its determination that those responsible must be held accountable;

 2. Expresses its full support to the OPCW Fact Finding Mission investigation and requests that it report the results of its investigation as soon as possible;

 3. Recalls paragraph 9 of resolution 2235 (2015), which requested the FFM to collaborate with the JIM to provide full access to all the information and evidence obtained or prepared by the FFM, and stresses that the JIM should begin to fulfill its mandate alongside the FFM as it seeks to determine whether the incident on April 4 2017 involved the use of chemicals as weapons;

 4. Recalls that in its resolutions 2118 and 2235 it decided that the Syrian Arab Republic and all parties in Syria shall cooperate fully with the OPCW and the United Nations including the Joint Investigation Mechanism;

 5. Emphasizes that this includes the obligation upon the Syrian Arab Republic to provide the JIM and FFM with the following:
 (a) flight plans, flight logs, and any other information on air operations, including all flight plans or flight logs filed on April 4 2017;
 (b) names of all individuals in command of any helicopter squadrons;
 (c) arrange meetings requested including with generals or other officers, within no more than five days of the date on which such meeting is requested;
 (d) immediately provide access to relevant air bases from which the JIM or the FFM believe attacks involving chemicals as weapons may have been launched

 6. Requests the Secretary-General to report on whether the information and access described in paragraph 5 has been provided in his reports to the Security Council every 30 days pursuant to paragraph 12 of resolution 2118.

 7. Recalls its decision in response to violations of resolution 2118 to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations charter." Inner City Press will cover the meeting(s).

   As de Mistura trudges on with a short term UN extension, he did not say if he is applying to head the UN Development Program, and thus to move on from his Syria post. Inner City Press first reported that - and the interest of Sigrid Kaag, who blocks Inner City Press on Twitter, deemed fine by the UN's holdover Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq.

 On March 8, before the US' April presidency of the Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley was asked of Iran involvement in talks. She paused, then said there are some not at the table who should be. Watch this site.

 In Geneva for the Syria talks as in New York, the UN made a point of telling those with "temporary accreditation" that they could not get into the building after 7 pm, even with a stakeout scheduled for 6:30 pm. The Free UN Coalition for Access (FUNCA) objects to the UN's two-tier system for correspondents, which in New York meant for example that Inner City Press which covered Peru's President's meeting with Antonio Guterres was Banned from the area of the UN where he spoke to the media afterward. (But see this Periscope). Ban Censorship in 2017.

Even before February 25, multiple UN sources sounded a dissonant note to Inner City Press.

  As exclusively reported February 2, the sources had told Inner City Press that de Mistura is in fact angling to replace Helen Clark atop the UN Development Program or UNDP. (The UN Spokesperson's office, as usual, is in untransparent denial mode. Also in the mix are, among others, David Miliband, Segolene Royal and Bert Koenders - or even Sigrid "The Blocker" Kaag).

  Inner City Press first reported from its sources that seeking to replace de Mistura as UN Syria envoy is Sigrid Kaag, long time envoy in Lebanon. (We'd ask Kaag to confirm or deny, but again it turns out Kaag blocks Inner City Press on Twitter, click here to view: strange, for a publicly paid UN official.) We'll have more on this.

When de Mistura took questions on January 31, Inner City Press asked him among other things if the Trump administration's proposal for safe zones in Syria (and Yemen) had been discussed. Video here.

  No, de Mistura said, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley hadn't raised it. Some wondered if that reflects the irrelevance to which the UN has sunk. We'll see.


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