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Russia Accuses Nikki Haley of Lying as UN Investigation About To Issue Report on Syria Chemical Weapons

Oct. 21, 2017 (EIRNS)—The United States is going to put before the UN Security Council early next week a resolution to extend the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), that body of investigators charged with determining who is responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The Associated Press reported on Oct. 18 that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley claimed that there is "overwhelming support" among Security Council members to extend the JIM mandate, but she said Russia wants to see if the JIM blames the Syrian government for the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, in which case Russia will have no faith in the investigative body. Haley said, "If the report doesn’t blame the Syrians, then they say that they will" renew the JIM’s mandate. "We can’t work like that," Haley said.

"We need to prove that it was actually a chemical [attack], and then we need to look at who did it. We can’t go and pick and choose who we want to be at fault, who we don’t."

Aside from the fact that the United States has already decided who in its view was responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun attack (this was demonstrated by the U.S. cruise missile strike on the Shayrat air base a few days later), Haley flatly lied about the Russian position. Yesterday, Russian Foreign Ministry official Mikhail Ulyanov said, "This is not true, although I can hardly keep from using stronger words: this is a lie, twisting the facts and crooked gambling." Ulyanov, who is the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Nonproliferation and Arms Control Department spoke in Moscow.

"As a matter of fact, we put it straight: all depends on the quality of the report rather than on its conclusions. It looks like Haley intentionally distorts Russia’s position to ’expose’ it and picture us in a wrong light. It is indecent for a diplomat of such a high rank.

"The Americans have astonished us increasingly more often recently by taking strange steps that run counter to established and proven practice,"

Ulyanov continued.

"The U.S. suggests putting the cart before the horse, despite the fact that little is known about the JIM’s activities over the past year. During the past year, the JIM presented, perhaps, only one report, and the administrative-technical one at that. There were no substantive reports, and extending powers in these circumstances would be unwise."

Ulyanov further noted that the JIM investigators somehow managed to draw conclusions about the attack without ever visiting the site of the attack or the airbase from where it was supposedly launched. "To tell the truth, the situation looks like a subversion," he said. They have refused to visit Khan Sheikhoun, though they did finally visit the Shayrat airbase about ten days ago, but refused to collect any samples. "It has turned out that it was the JIM top officials’ principal stance: do not collect samples," Ulyanov said. So, the question isn’t what conclusions the report will draw, but rather the quality of the report itself.

"As soon as we get the report, we will see and analyze. Then we will take a decision if it is worth extending the mechanism which appears to be unable to perform its duties in full, and moreover, seems to be unwilling to do it."

he said.

The report is due Oct. 26 but the United States wants the vote in the Security Council before that.