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UN disarmament chief laments lack of accountability for chemical weapons use in Syria

UN-SECURITY COUNCIL-SYRIA

Photo taken on Sept. 6, 2018 shows a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York. UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu on Thursday asked the Security Council to find a common approach to tackle the issue of lack of accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu on Thursday asked the Security Council to find a common approach to tackle the issue of lack of accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The lack of a mechanism to attribute responsibility to those who have used chemical weapons in Syria has been deeply troubling and a missing step on the path toward accountability, she told the Security Council.

The closure of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in November 2017 after Russia vetoed the extension of its mandate emboldened those who sought to carry out further attacks, warned Nakamitsu.

The Security Council holds the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, which is threatened by the use of chemical weapons, she said. "Anyone who uses chemical weapons must be identified and must be held to account."

Speaking of the Syrian government's assault on Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold, Nakamitsu asked for adherence to humanitarian principles and international disarmament and non-proliferation norms.

It is of vital importance that humanitarian principles are upheld, all relevant international disarmament and non-proliferation norms -- most importantly the Chemical Weapons Convention -- are fully respected, and that all sides work together to avoid further escalation in Syria, including in and around Idlib, she said.

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]