UN Security Council works on resolution over chemical weapons use in Syria

File photo taken on Feb. 24, 2018 shows the United Nations Security Council voting on a resolution demanding ceasefire in Syria at the UN headquarters in New York. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding ceasefire in Syria on Saturday. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua) — The Security Council is working on a resolution with regard to chemical weapons use in Syria, said Peruvian ambassador to the United Nations Gustavo Meza-Cuadra on Monday.

“At the expert levels, we have convened our colleagues to continue working on the possibility of a resolution on the matters,” the ambassador, who is president of the Security Council for the month of April, told reporters after closed-door consultations of the council members.

They were supposed to discuss a U.S.-drafted resolution on an international investigative mechanism for chemical weapons use in Syria.

Monday’s consultations and the preceding open emergency meeting came after reports of a new chemical attack over the weekend in rebel-held Douma in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.

Russia has also prepared a text for an investigative mechanism. But insiders said the Russian text does not have the support of the majority of the council members.

Meza-Cuadra said members of the Security Council on Monday agreed on the need for an urgent and impartial investigation conducted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The OPCW, through its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), is already gathering information about the attack in Douma. The FFM, however, has no power to attribute accountability. A Joint Investigative Mechanism between the OPCW and the United Nations was set up by the Security Council for that purpose.

The mechanism, however, ceased to be in November 2017 after Russia blocked the renewal of its mandate.

At Monday’s emergency meeting, several Security Council members believed that the Syrian government was responsible for Saturday’s chemical attack in Douma, while Russia claimed that the whole incident was a fabrication.

On Saturday, activists said the Syrian forces used chlorine gas in an attack against Douma, the last rebel-held area in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus.

They said that dozens of people suffered suffocation as a result.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry responded to the rebels’ claims of chemical weapons use by the Syrian army in Douma district near Damascus as “premeditated pretexts,” according to state news agency SANA.

The ministry said the allegations have been planned beforehand to prolong the lives of the “terrorists” in Douma.

It also said the rebels use such allegations every time the army makes a progress.

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