WATCH: Nikki Haley Calls Russia Out On Its ‘Lies’ Regarding Syria
During a speech before the United Nations Security Council on Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley slammed Russia over its repeated defense of Syria:
Now that we have established what we all agree on, let’s ask ourselves, what should we be condemning today? We should be discussing the actions that really brought us to this moment in time. We should not be condemning the country or group of countries that might actually have the courage to stand up in defense of our common principle – the principle against the use of chemical weapons. Instead, we should be condemning the country that unilaterally has stopped the Security Council from upholding this principle.
Who is it on the council that most exhibits unilateralism when it comes to chemical weapons? It is Russia alone that has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime’s multiple uses of chemical weapons. It is Russia alone that killed the Joint Investigative Mechanism, which allowed the world to ensure accountability for chemical weapons use in Syria. It is Russia alone that used its vetoes six times to prevent the condemnation of Assad’s use of chemical weapons. It is Russia alone that used its veto twelve times to protect the Assad regime. And to make matters worse, it is Russia alone that had agreed to be the guarantor of the removal of all chemical weapons in Syria.
If Russia had lived up to its commitment, there would be no chemical weapons in Syria, and we would not be here today. That is the Russian record of unilateralism. It is a record that has led to the trashing of all international standards against the use of chemical weapons.
This meeting should not be about the so-called unilateral threats, it should be about the multiple actions Russia has taken to bring us to this point.
Our president has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria, but should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree. It will be in defense of a bedrock international norm that benefits all nations.
Let’s be clear – Assad’s most recent use of poison gas against the people of Douma was not his first, second, third, or even 49th use of chemical weapons. The United States estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times. Public estimates are as high as 200.
In the weeks after Assad’s sarin gas attack last April that killed nearly a hundred people including many children, the regime used chlorine gas at least once, and possibly as many as three times, in the same area. Last November, just as the Joint Investigative Mechanism mandate expired, the regime attacked its people with sarin again in the Damascus suburbs. In January, Assad used at least four chlorine-filled rockets in Douma, and then he struck again last weekend.
And thanks to Russia, there was no U.N. body to determine blame. But we know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and its cover-ups.