Flags fly outside the UN headquarter in New York. File photo: AFP
UNITED NATIONS – Sweden has circulated a new draft resolution calling for the UN Secretary-General to take immediate action in order to resolve the issue of chemical weapon use in Syria “once and for all.”
In the draft resolution, which Rudaw has seen a copy of, Sweden requests the UN chief “immediately dispatch a high-level disarmament mission to the Syrian Arab Republic with the task of addressing all outstanding issues on the use of chemical weapons once and for all on its territory.”
As rhetoric about Syria has heated up, led by US President Donald Trump threatening a missile strike, Sweden has cautioned against unilateral military action.
“Whatever happens next has to abide by international law,” Sweden’s UN Ambassador Olof Skoog said on Wednesday.
In the draft resolution, Sweden called for the establishment of a “new impartial, independent and professional investigative mechanism able to identify all those responsible for the use of chemicals as weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
A diplomatic source told Rudaw's Majeed Gly at the UN that three permanent members of the Security Council, the US, UK, and France, don't support the Swedish text because its language on attribution is not strong enough.
US officials have said that blood and urine samples from Douma have tested positive for chlorine gas and a nerve agent, NBC reported.
The UN Security Council met behind closed doors Thursday morning. Bolivia had requested a meeting in light of the threats of military action.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Russia’s ambassador said the priority is to prevent war between the US and Russia. “We cannot exclude any possibilities, unfortunately,” he said.
The Council has not discussed the Swedish draft and is unlikely to do so on Thursday. The body has already voted on three other proposals this week - failing to pass any.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, left New York for Washington. She did not attend the Council meeting Thursday morning.
A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is on its way to Syria and will begin work on Saturday, a spokesperson for the group said on Thursday.
The OPCW is sending two separate groups who are expected to arrive on Thursday and Friday.
Damascus has welcomed the fact-finding mission.
“We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was any use of chemical weapons,” Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari told reporters.
Updated at 9:15 pm