Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Report on the Attack in Salisbury

Ambassador Nikki Haley
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
April 18, 2018


Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, High Representative Nakamitsu, for your briefing. And I thank my British colleague for keeping the Security Council updated.

Last week, the Council met five times to discuss the chemical weapons attack in Douma. Today, we are here yet again talking about chemical weapons. This time, it’s about a military grade nerve agent used against two people on British soil. In the constant push of meeting after meeting here in this chamber, it’s easy to lose track of what this means. We are rapidly confronting a frightening new reality. If chemical weapons can appear in a small English town, where might they start appearing next?

None of us will be immune from this threat, unless we immediately start rebuilding our consensus against chemical weapons. I will not engage in an argument over self-evident facts. I will not trade accusations of shameful behavior with those who have no shame. I will not waste this Council’s time.

I will say only this: the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has released an independent report that confirmed the United Kingdom’s lab analysis of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury. Three people were seriously injured. Hundreds were exposed. This act was brazen, and in complete defiance of the international consensus against the use of chemical weapons. As we have stated previously, the United States agrees with the UK’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the chemical weapons in Salisbury.

Whether that is their direct act or irresponsibly losing control of the agent, which could be worse, our support for our British friends and colleagues is unwavering. Douma and Salisbury are just the two latest incidents involving the use of chemical weapons around the world. They offer us a reminder that these are weapons of terror. They are indiscriminate. They have no place in the civilized world.

We hope our colleagues on this Council will join us, as they have before, in delivering a clear condemnation of the use of a Russian nerve agent on another member’s soil. Because unless we stop this now, there will be more death and more scenes that nobody wants to see.

There is nothing more troubling than the idea that the use of a weapon of mass destruction becomes routine. Last year it was Malaysia and Khan Sheikhoun. Last month it was Salisbury. Last week it was Douma. If we don’t come together – soon – and take a firm, unequivocal stance against this deadly trend, the next attack will come. And it could very well come closer to home for one of us.

Then of course it will be too late. Too late for the victims. Too late for the wounded survivors. Too late for the women and children. This is a matter of basic morality. We cannot, in good conscience, allow this to continue. Thank you.