Thank you, Mr. President, and to members of the Council, for what’s been another frustrating day.
You know, my parents always said you should always see the good the good in everyone. And you should always see the good in everything. So I’ve been trying to figure out what the good is with Russia. I think that they are very good at being consistent, and I think they’re very good at playing games. And we saw that when we took up the Joint Investigative Mechanism. They loved the Joint Investigative Mechanism until we found Assad guilty, and then they decided they didn’t want it.
And then we passed a ceasefire. And they loved the idea of a ceasefire until Assad had a problem with it, and then they violated it.
And then today, they vetoed for the sixth time a resolution condemning Assad for chemical weapons attacks on his own people. So no matter what we do, Russia will be consistent. They’ll continue to play the games. And once again, they’re putting forward yet another surprise resolution. The first time any of us saw it was today at 11:00 a.m. They held no negotiations. They took no input. And when Sweden asked that the Council be allowed to discuss the resolution, they allowed it, but they didn’t allow any changes to it. So there’s a reason Russia didn’t want to discuss their resolution, because it doesn’t accomplish anything.
The draft resolution mainly asks for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to send a fact-finding mission to Douma, but the fact-finding mission is already traveling to Douma. They already have a mandate to investigate and collect samples. But what makes it worse is Russia includes several provisions in its resolution that are deeply problematic and that yet again seek to compromise the credibility of the international investigation. The resolution puts Russia and the Assad regime itself in the driver’s seat for making arrangements for the fact-finding mission investigators. We’re just supposed to trust that the same government who says everything about the Douma attack was fake will work in good faith with the OPCW. This draft also tries to micromanage how the FFM should carry out its investigation, dictating where the investigators should go. Like we’ve always said, for an investigation to be credible and independent, the investigators must choose where they think they should go.
This Council, least of all Russia, should not be calling the shots. For these reasons, the United States voted “no” on this resolution.