06:24 GMT +318 June 2019
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    Volunteers take part in a simulation of how to respond to a chemical attack, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (File)

    US Urges Russia to Alter Its Course on Probing into Chemical Weapons in Syria

    © AFP 2019 / JM LOPEZ
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    The United States called on Russia on Wednesday to allow the UN panel examining reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria to continue its mission under the existing mandate.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The White House has described Russia’s initiative as "watered down," saying countries that did not support the renewal of the mandate or wanted it changed "are protecting the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime and the terrorists who continue to use chemical weapons."

    "We urge Russia to change course before the JIM [Joint Investigative Mechanism] expires, and we believe all responsible nations must vote in favor of extending this critical body," the White House said in a statement.

    There are currently two draft resolutions proposing to renew the mandate of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism but on different conditions. One was introduced by Russia and the other by the United States. JIM’s mandate expires on November 17.

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov confirmed to Sputnik on Wednesday that Russia did not want the joint UN-OPCW panel to cease its work but stressed its efforts should be held to higher professional standards and be devoid of political bias.

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    Tags:
    chemical weapons, investigation, policy, United Nations, White House, UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Sergey Ryabkov, Syria, United States, Russia
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