U.S. ambassador details situation in Syria at Security Council Stakeout

U.S. ambassador details situation in Syria at Security Council Stakeout.
U.S. ambassador details situation in Syria at Security Council Stakeout. | Courtesy of the Department of State
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power delivered an address this week during a Security Council Stakeout regarding the situation in Syria.

Power stated that on Wednesday the U.N. Security Council received a briefing from Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo regarding the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) and other associated activity involving the dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons program.

Won-soo stated that the JIM is currently fully staffed and funded and has launched its investigative work. In this briefing, Power stated recent reports from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that confirm the use of chemical weapons in at least one case and probable use in others.

“Council members unanimously underscored our common concern and condemnation for alleged chemical weapons use -- whichever party carried it out,” Power said. “We also collectively expressed hope and expectation that the JIM’s ongoing investigations will finally allow perpetrators to be identified and held accountable.”

Power also took questions from reporters focusing on the timeframe of the JIM completing its work and stated that its first report is due in 90 days. One reporter also asked if the U.S. intelligence community subscribes to statements from Israel indicating continued and almost routine chemical weapons use.

In her response, she stated that the OPCW reports do indicate that chlorine use has been used repeatedly. She also reiterated that the repeated use of such weapons is the reason that fact-finding missions and the operations of the JIM are crucial.

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