10:05 GMT11 August 2020
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    Russia is looking at the option of extending the mandate of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) until its status is cleared, the nation’s envoy to the UN told reporters on Thursday.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — The mandate of UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) can be extended temporarily, but if it is, the UN Security Council members should negotiate the final parameters of the mechanism, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said.

    "It can be extended, but it’s a technical extension and we are talking substantively updating the mechanism, giving it a new role and improving its methods of work," Nebenzia told the UN Security Council on Thursday.

    Russia has vetoed the US draft resolution that sought to prolong the mandate of the fact-finding mission examining the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Its own draft fell short of the required number of votes at the UN Security Council.

    The JIM's mandate expires on November 17. The United States and Russia had earlier presented two different versions of the renewal, both proposals suggesting extending the mission, 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.


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    chemical weapons, Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), Syria, Russia, United States
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