11:17 GMT15 June 2021
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    Russia and the United States are discussing the renewal of a mandate for a mission by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) - that investigates the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — Russia and the US are consulting on the renewal of the United Nations — OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) whose mandate ends on November 17, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told reporters. 

    "We are talking to the United States, it’s not over yet," Nebenzia said, adding that Russia hopes to reach an agreement but it remains to be seen what the result will be.

    There are currently two draft resolutions on renewing JIM’s mandate — one presented by Russia and the other by the United States. Both suggest renewing JIM’s mandate, but on different terms.

    On October 26, JIM presented to the UN Security Council a confidential report on the April sarin attack in the Syrian province of Idlib in which more than 80 people were killed. The report put the blame for the attack on the Syrian government. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the opinions of Russian experts were not taken into consideration during the investigation, though "they are indeed objective, because, unlike the JIM report, they are based on laws of physics, ballistics and technical analysis."    

    "The selective approach and disdain for the OPCW standards played a dirty trick on [JIM head Edmond] Mulet" as the OPCW-UN report is marked by "a low level of professionalism, on the verge of dilettantism" and its conclusions about Damascus' alleged use of sarin nerve agent are "fully untenable," the ministry statement read.   

    Shortly before the report was presented, Russia blocked a UN Security Council draft resolution on the extension of the JIM mission's mandate, suggesting that prolonging its mission should be discussed only after the report is assessed.


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