The United States is intent on stopping chemicalweapons attacks and denying impunity to thosewho use or enable the use of such weapons. OnJanuary 22, in Syria, more than 20 civilians, most ofthem children, were victims of an apparent chlorinegas attack, said U.S. Secretary of State RexTillerson.
The recent attacks in East Ghouta raise serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regimemay be continuing its use of chemical weapons against its own people, warned Mr. Tillerson. Butit is Russia, he said that ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta andcountless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria.
In September 2013, Russia agreed to the framework for the elimination of Syrian chemicalweapons – a diplomatic understanding between the United States and Russia requiring theverifiable destruction of Syria's entire chemical weapons stockpile.
In so doing, Russia assumed responsibility as guarantor for ensuring that its Syrian ally ceaseall use of chemical weapons and fully declare its chemical weapons stockpile for destructionunder international oversight.
But Russia has not lived up to this promise. There is simply no denying that Russia, byshielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitments to the United States as a frameworkguarantor, said Secretary Tillerson. It has betrayed the Chemical Weapons Convention and UNSecurity Council Resolution 2218, and has twice vetoed UN Security Council resolutions toextend the Joint Investigative Mechanism, an impartial and professional entity establishedto make attribution findings for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Russia's failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into question its relevanceto the resolution to the overall crisis.
Over 25 like-minded countries are committed to upholding the Chemical Weapons Conventionand its vision of a world free of these heinous weapons and have joined the InternationalPartnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. We look forward to this numbergrowing.
Those who ordered and carried out chemical weapons attacks have been put on notice, saidSecretary Tillerson. You will face a day of reckoning for your crimes against humanity and yourvictims will see justice done.