UN / SYRIA CHEMICAL WEAPONS

07-Nov-2017 00:05:00
The Head of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the use of chemical weapons in Syria told the Security Council his team has “identified ISIL as responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh, and the Syrian Arab Republic as responsible for the use of sarin at Khan Shaykhun.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / SYRIA CHEMICAL WEAPONS
TRT: 05:00
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ARABIC / ENGLISH / RUSSIAN

DATELINE: 07 NOVEMBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

07 NOVEMBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Edmond Mulet, Head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on chemical weapon use in Syria:
“The Leadership Panel has identified ISIL as responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh, and the Syrian Arab Republic as responsible for the use of sarin at Khan Shaykhun.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Edmond Mulet, Head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on chemical weapon use in Syria:
“The study showed that the samples from Khan Shaykhun match with a particular chemical from the Syrian Arab Republic stockpile that is required to make sarin. This chemical is the precursor chemical for sarin and is called ‘DF’.”
6. Med shot, Russian ambassador
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Edmond Mulet, Head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on chemical weapon use in Syria:
“All these elements constitute clear evidence that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the use of sarin at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017. Aircraft is in the air at the relevant time; the crater is caused; the crater was most likely caused by a high velocity aerial bomb; a large number of persons are affected by sarin that morning; sarin is found in and around the crater; and samples of the sarin taken from the crater are found to contain unique markers which match those of the precursor from the stockpile of the Syrian Arab Republic.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Edmond Mulet, Head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on chemical weapon use in Syria:
“I understand the political issues surrounding the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, however, this is not a political issue but an issue about the lives of innocent civilians. Impunity must not prevail. The international community must ensure that it has effective ways to respond rapidly to any future use of chemical weapons, including acts of chemical terrorism.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations:
“The FFM (Fact Finding Mission) was able to determine the presence of sarin on samples that came from the alleged site of the incident; that causalities from that site and time period displayed symptoms and received treatment consistent with exposure to sarin; and that munition parts from the alleged site of the incident were consistent with the application of a chemical weapon. As a result, the FFM was able to conclude that sarin “was more than likely used” at this incident.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Nikki Haley, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“There can now be no higher priority for the Security Council than to renew the Joint Investigative Mechanism. Anyone who prevents us from achieving this goal is aiding and abetting those who have been using chemical weapons in Syria. They are helping to ensure, not just that more women and children will die, but that those women and children will die in one of the cruelest, most painful ways possible.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vladimir Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“It is not by chance that the text, including in the part about analysing what happened in Khan Shaykhun is full of expressions such as ‘possibly, probably, might be, suppose, most likely.’ Mr Mulet, do you really think this kind of terminology is acceptable in a report on such a serious matter? Wouldn’t it have been more honest to report to the Security Council that it was not possible for the JIM to conduct a fully-fledged report?”
16. Wide shot, Syrian ambassador
17. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“With the issuance of this report with its prefabricated results, the final fig leaf has fallen and the sponsors of terrorism have become naked. The scale of manipulation of facts and evidence in this report is unprecedented.”
18. Wide shot, Security Council
19. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“Can the Mechanism’s leadership explain to us how it does not dismiss the possibility that the crater could have been the result of an improvised explosive device and at the same time say that it is confident that the crater is the result of an aerial projectile. How can these two issues fit together?”
20. Wide shot, Security Council
21. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“Why is there an insistence on misleading anyone who reads the report by giving the impression that this sample rises to the level of a fingerprint, DNA sample, which cannot be manufactured by anyone other than the Syrian Government keeping in mind that any specialized western laboratory could create such a sample. Are the Syrian scientists the only ones who can create this precursor, DF?”
22. Wide shot, Security Council
STORYLINE
The Head of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the use of chemical weapons in Syria told the Security Council his team has “identified ISIL as responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh, and the Syrian Arab Republic as responsible for the use of sarin at Khan Shaykhun.”

Addressing the Security Council today (07 Nov), JIM chief Edmond Mulet said the Mechanism interviewed 30 witnesses in addition to those interviewed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission, and collected and reviewed 2247 photographs, 1284 video files, 120 audio files, and 639 documents relating to the two incidents. He said the Syrian Government engaged constructively and provided JIM with its own investigation into the incidents, which he said were carefully reviewed.

Mulet said an in-depth laboratory study showed that samples from Khan Shaykhun collected by the (OPCW) “match with a particular” precursor chemical from the Syrian Government stockpile called “DF”. He said JIM conducted investigations into eight possible scenarios in the Khan Shaykhun attack, including that the incident could have been staged in an attempt to place responsibility on the Syrian Government. He noted that while expert examination did not rule out that the crater at the site could have been caused by means other than an aerial bomb, the Mechanism found nothing to prove that the incident had been staged.

Mulet said the JIM Leadership Panel is confident that all the elements it presented in its report constitute “clear evidence that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the use of sarin at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.”

The JIM chief said chemical weapons use is “not a political issue, but an issue about the lives of innocent civilians.” He stressed that “impunity must not prevail” adding that the international community “must ensure that it has effective ways to respond rapidly to any future use of chemical weapons, including acts of chemical terrorism.”

UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu said the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) was able to conclude that sarin “was more than likely used” in another incident on 30 March 2017 at Ltamenah. She said the mission was able to determine the “presence of sarin on samples that came from the alleged site of the incident; that causalities from that site and time period displayed symptoms and received treatment consistent with exposure to sarin; and that munition parts from the alleged site of the incident were consistent with the application of a chemical weapon.”

Nakamitsu said allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria have not ceased adding that the unity of the Security Council will be necessary to avoid impunity for the use of these abhorrent weapons as JIM’s mandate is set to end on 16 November.

United States ambassador Nikki Haley said JIM has fulfilled its mandate to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and now it was time for the Council to do its job. She said there was much her delegation can agree on with its Russian counterparts for the renewal of JIM’s mandate, but it cannot agree on putting a line in the resolution that keeps the Syrian Government from being investigated or found to have used chemical weapons. Haley said, “There can now be no higher priority for the Security Council than to renew the Joint Investigative Mechanism. Anyone who prevents us from achieving this goal is aiding and abetting those who have been using chemical weapons in Syria. They are helping to ensure, not just that more women and children will die, but that those women and children will die in one of the cruelest, most painful ways possible.”

Russian ambassador Vladimir Safronkov described JIM’s report as mediocre. He said Russia conducted a thorough scientific and technical assessment of the report and found that an airstrike was not technically possible. He said videos showed White Helmets personnel using protective gear that would not protect them from Sarin and civilians in plain clothes at the site after the attack adding that if sarin was used, there would have been a lethal concentration present at the site. He said the report is “full of expressions such as ‘possibly, probably, might be, suppose, most likely’” and asked Mulet, “Do you really think this kind of terminology is acceptable in a report on such a serious matter?” Safronkov said his delegation was not trying to undermine the JIM adding that the Mechanism could not continue to work in this way. He said without a comprehensive change JIM will become a tool to settle accounts with the Syrian Government.

Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said, “With the issuance of this report with its prefabricated results, the final fig leaf has fallen and the sponsors of terrorism have become naked.” He said the scale of manipulation of facts and evidence in the report “is unprecedented.”

Ja’afari said the report indicated that the Khan Shaykhun area was primarily under the control of Al-Nusra Front. He therefore concluded that JIM is admitting that the Al Nusra terrorist group fabricated and transported the evidence it used, provided samples and witnesses, and created and buried the crime scene. He said the expression of confidence in the report that evidence was not tampered with based on the chain of custody showed that the Al Nusra terrorist group has more credibility with the JIM leadership than the Syrian Government.

The Syrian ambassador asked the JIM leadership to explain how it does not dismiss the possibility that the crater in the Khan Shaykhun attack “could have been the result of an improvised explosive device and at the same time say that it is confident that the crater is the result of an aerial projectile.”

Ja’afari also asked why there is “an insistence on misleading anyone who reads the report by giving the impression” that presence of DF in the sample “rises to the level of a fingerprint, DNA sample, which cannot be manufactured by anyone other than the Syrian Government.” He said the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile was destroyed on-board the US ship MV-CAB RAY in the Mediterranean, adding that it was likely that the US Government could have kept part of the stockpile if they are unable to manufacture it themselves.
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