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U.N. Focuses on U.S. Efforts to Monitor Syria’s Chemical Weapons Program Despite Russian and Chinese Opposition

The United States and its allies have pledged to keep the spotlight on Syria’s failure to account for its chemical weapons program at the U.N. Security Council, despite opposition from Russia and China. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused the Syrian government of repeatedly lying to the international community and investigators from the international chemical weapons watchdog. She demanded a full accounting from Syria and emphasized that the Biden administration will continue to press for answers. Russia and China refused to speak at the monthly meeting, claiming that the discussions were repetitive and should be reduced.

Syria’s minister counsellor Alhakan Dandy, on the other hand, expressed surprise at this month’s meeting and accused the United States of exploiting the chemical weapons issue to serve their own agenda of hostility against Syria. He firmly denied Syria’s use of chemical weapons and condemned the claims as lies. Dandy also criticized the investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for being politicized and using unprofessional working methods.

U.N. deputy disarmament chief Adedeji Ebo informed the council that Syria had failed to provide a full accounting of its chemical weapons program to the OPCW, citing gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies in its declaration. He highlighted unanswered questions regarding activities at Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center and the quantities of nerve agents produced at a declared chemical weapons production facility. The U.N. reiterated its call on Syria to urgently respond to all OPCW questions.

Although some council members proposed discussing the Syria chemical weapons issue every three months instead of every month, there was widespread support for Syria to answer all questions from the OPCW. U.S. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield called on the council not to succumb to fatigue or indifference and emphasized the importance of holding the Assad regime accountable for its use of weapons of mass destruction.

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