Mon | Feb 19, 2018

US: Russia to blame for Syrian chemical attacks

Published:Wednesday | January 24, 2018 | 12:03 AM
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers a speech during a foreign ministers' meeting on the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons in Paris, yesterday.

PARIS (AP):

Russia is ultimately to blame for any use of chemical weapons in Syria, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday amid reports of a suspected chemical attack this week near the capital, Damascus.

Tillerson said Russia is violating a 2013 agreement it made with the US on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and is helping the Syrian government breach the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans their use.

The secretary of state said Russia must stop vetoing UN Security Council resolutions on holding those who use such weapons accountable. If it cannot support a future Security Council resolution to that end, it should abstain, Tillerson said.

"There is simply no denying that Russia, by shielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitments to the United States as a framework guarantor" of the 2013 agreement, Tillerson said.

"Russia's failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into question its relevance to the resolution of the overall crisis. At a bare minimum, Russia must stop vetoing and at least abstain on future UNSC resolutions on this issue," he said.