Posts Tagged ‘Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia’

Russia casts doubt over evidence of Iran-made missiles to Yemen — Russian propaganda?

January 31, 2018

 

US President Donald Trump, flanked by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, speaks during lunch with members of the United Nations Security Council in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (AFP)
UNITED NATIONS: Russia on Wednesday dismissed evidence presented by the United States and UN experts that Iran had supplied missiles to Yemen’s Houthi rebels as inconclusive, signaling it would oppose a bid to slap sanctions on Tehran.
.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said it was unclear whether missiles and weaponry used by the rebels were Iranian-made or whether they were shipped before the arms embargo on Yemen was imposed in 2015, casting doubt over the findings of a UN panel of experts.
.
“Iran is vehemently denying it is supplying anything to Yemen,” Nebenzia told two reporters.
.
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing
.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shake hands prior to the Syria meeting in Sochi, Russia on 22 November 2017 [Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]
.
“Yemen hosts a pile of weapons from the old days. Many countries were competing to supply weapons to Yemen during the time of president Saleh, so I cannot give you anything conclusive,” he said.
.
Ali Abdullah Saleh was Yemen’s leader 1990-2012. He was killed in December by his erstwhile Houthi rebel allies.
.
Asked whether the case had been made for action against Iran, the ambassador answered “no.”
.
Nebenzia joined UN Security Council ambassadors on a visit to Washington this week to inspect debris from missiles that the United States says were supplied by Iran to the Houthis.
.
The ambassadors had lunch with President Donald Trump, who urged the council to take steps to counter “Iran’s destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.
.
A recent report by the panel of experts bolstered the US claims when it concluded that Iran had violated the arms embargo on Yemen by failing to block supplies of missiles to the rebels.
.
The Trump administration has said it will seek action at the Security Council against Iran, although it has yet to specify what those measures might be.
.
“If there is something we will see. How can we pass judgment prematurely before we know what it is about,” Nebenzia said.
.
Russia has the power to block sanctions by resorting to its veto power as one of the five permanent Security Council members along with Britain, France, China and the United States.
.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley last month presented the missile fragments as “undeniable” evidence that a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels at Saudi Arabia in November was Iranian-made.
.
Related:
.
.
.
.
.
.

 

The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade on September 22, 2017 in Tehran. (AFP)
.
.
.
.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, suit

Above: Iranian foreign minister Zarif shares some fun with his co-equal from Russia Mr. Lavrov.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley points to previously classified missile segments she says prove Iran violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms, during a press conference at Joint Base Anacostia in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley points to previously classified missile segments she says prove Iran violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms, during a press conference at Joint Base Anacostia in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley briefs the media in front of remains of Iranian “Qiam” ballistic missile provided by Pentagon at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. (Reuters)

.
.
.
.
.
.
Advertisements

Russian blockade of Syrian chemical attacks probe prevents chemical weapons watchdog of UN from bringing international criminals to account

November 25, 2017
“Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable…”

 

Syrians flee following a reported government airstrike in Hamouria, in the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. (AFP/file)

THE HAGUE: The head of the international chemical weapons watchdog said Friday that Russia’s veto of UN Security Council resolutions to extend the mandate of an investigation team that lays blame for chemical attacks in Syria “creates a gap which needs to be addressed by the international community.”

.
The mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, set up by the UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expired earlier this month after the Syrian government’s staunch ally Russia blocked efforts to extend its mandate.
.

© AFP/File / by Maria PANINA | This Syrian child was among the victims of a suspected sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhun on April 4, which a UN report has blamed on the regime of Bashar al-Assad

Russia has been highly critical of the JIM’s findings that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015 and used the nerve agent sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun last April 4 that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others.

.
The JIM also accused Daesh of using mustard gas in 2015 and again in September 2016 in Um Hosh in Aleppo.
.
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu lamented the end of the JIM.
.
“It is unfortunate that the mandate of this mechanism is not extended and clearly that creates a gap which needs to be addressed by the international community,” he told The Associated Press.
.
Members of the OPCW’s Executive Council were scheduled to meet later Friday to debate their response to the report.
.
A draft decision put forward by the US, Colombia, Estonia and Saudi Arabia is expected to be discussed.
.
It calls for the council to demand that the Syrian government immediately stop using chemical weapons and to express “its strong conviction that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable,” according to a copy of the draft text seen by The Associated Press.
.
Executive Council decisions are generally adopted by consensus, but with the US and its allies at loggerheads with Russia and its supporters, it is likely to be put to a vote.
.
Russia and Iran also filed a draft decision for the council earlier this month calling for a “full scale, professional, and high quality investigation” in Khan Sheikhoun, including a site visit.
.
“There are serious differences of view on the issues that are being discussed because it’s somehow the extension of the conflict which is still underway in Syria,” Uzumcu said.
.
The OPCW has a fact-finding mission, which works to confirm allegations of chemical attacks in Syria, but does not apportion blame.
.
Uzumcu said that there are allegations of more than 80 different uses of chemicals as weapons over the last two years.
“The list is long,” he said.
.
Uzumcu said that mission will continue, including a visit to Damascus soon to look into Syrian government claims of attacks by fighters.
.
Related:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Sochi, Russia, on November 22, 2017

Syria: Russia blocks extension of chemical attacks probe

November 17, 2017

BBC News

Men receive treatment after a gas attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun
Image captionA nerve gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April killed more than 80 people. Reuters photo

Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have extended an international inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

It is the 10th time Moscow has used its veto powers at the UN in support of its ally since the conflict began.

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, accused Russia of undermining the organisation’s ability to deter future chemical attacks.

The Russian ambassador dismissed the criticism.

The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) was set up in 2015 to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks. It is the only official mission investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Moscow strongly criticised the inquiry when it blamed the Syrian government for a deadly nerve agent attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April. Syria denies using banned chemical weapons.

Mrs Haley described the latest Russian veto as “a deep blow”.

“Russia has killed the investigative mechanism which has overwhelming support of this council,” she said.

“By eliminating our ability to identify the attackers, Russia has undermined our ability to deter future attacks.”


What is the Joint Investigative Mechanism?

  • Created in 2015 with unanimous backing from the UN Security Council and renewed in 2016 for another year
  • Involves the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
  • Has previously concluded that Syrian government forces used chlorine as a weapon at least three times between 2014 and 2015
  • It has also found that Islamic State militants used sulphur mustard in one attack.

The Security Council rejected a Russian-drafted resolution to extend the inquiry but with changes to membership of the panel. The draft also called for the panel’s findings on Khan Sheikhoun to be put aside.

Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said it was Western countries who had sabotaged the inquiry.

“Some council members refused to support our draft and now they have full responsibility for terminating the JIM,” he said.

“This just proves again that the anti-Damascus fever is the only real priority for them and that they have manipulated the JIM for their own purposes.”

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks against a Russian resolution at the UN in New York, November 16, 2017
US ambassador Nikki Haley accused Russia of undermining efforts to stop chemical attacks. Reuters photo

Japan later tabled a draft resolution that would extend the JIM for another 30 days, as opposed to the one-year extension in the US-written draft blocked by Russia. The council was due to vote on the new resolution later on Friday.

Russia, the UK, China, France and the US all have veto powers at the Security Council.

The attack on Khan Sheikhoun in April left more than 80 people dead and prompted the US to launch missile strikes on a Syrian airbase.

Last month a UN Human Rights Council inquiry concluded a Syrian air force jet was responsible, dismissing statements from Russia that the jet had dropped conventional munitions that struck a rebel chemical weapons depot.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said the incident in Khan Sheikhoun was a “fabrication”.

Abo Rabeea says he is still suffering from the suspected chemical weapons strike in Khan Sheikhoun
.
.
Related:
.