France freezes assets of 25 companies linked to Syrian chemical weapons

25 January, 2018, 02:18 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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Tillerson said Russia's responsibility was legally ratified by U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"The criminals who take the responsibility for using and developing these barbaric weapons must know that they will not go unpunished", said French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who chaired Tuesday's meeting.

"Although chemical weapons had disappeared for some 20 years, their reappearance in Iraq, Syria, and Asia, where they have fallen into the hands of state and nonstate actors, demands a resolute mobilization by the global community", it said.

Tillerson said Russian Federation is violating a 2013 agreement it made with the USA on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and is helping the Syrian government breach the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans their use.

Russian Federation had vetoed renewing the JIM mandate and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

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Twenty-four countries have signed an initiative in Paris against impunity for chemical weapon attacks in Syria.

On Jan. 22, 2018 the Observatory says at least 21 people, including children, suffered breathing difficulties in a suspected Syrian regime chemical attack in a besieged rebel enclave near Damascus. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war there have been several reports of chemical weapons attack, with civilian casualties varying according to different sources of information.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday the Syrian government may still be using chemical weapons against its own people following a suspected chlorine attack in a rebel enclave, and he said Russian Federation bore ultimate responsibility.

"Unfortunately, we are still witnessing reports of attacks with the use of chemicals in Syria, the latest on the eastern Gouata on January 13", he added.

As Tillerson said, for the USA, the recent chemical attacks in East Ghouta raised "serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime may be continuing its use of chemical weapons against its own people".

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"On Syria, the two discussed Russia's role in ensuring the Assad regime plays a constructive role in the UN-led Geneva process", Nauert said in statement.

"The United States and the worldwide community are not going to be fooled. And we remain forever committed to preserving the truth of what the Assad regime has done in Syria and, sadly, what they will likely continue to do".

While the United States has long criticized the Assad regime for its brutal tactics, including the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians, it has only taken limited action against his government.

Hours before the conference, France said it froze the assets of 25 Syrian companies and executives, alongside French, Chinese and Lebanese enterprises that allegedly provided assistance to the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons.

In late August a USA intelligence report says with "high confidence" that Syria's government carried out the attacks. According to medical data, six people have sought medical attention because of breathing problems caused by a possible chemical attack.

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