[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text
version below transcribed directly from audio]
Thank you, Mr. President. And I thank my British colleagues for
calling this important meeting.
Weíre here today to discuss
the use of a chemical weapon by one Council Member in the
territory of another Council Member. Let me make one thing clear
from the very beginning: The United States stands in absolute
solidarity with Great Britain. The United States believes that
Russia is responsible for the
attack on two people in the United
Kingdom using a
military-grade nerve agent.
Dozens of civilians and first responders were also exposed.
Police officer Nick Bailey was the first to arrive on the scene
and remains hospitalized in serious condition. Our thoughts and
prayers go out to the victims of this atrocious crime.
No two nations enjoy a stronger bond than that of the United
States and the United Kingdom. Ours is truly a
relationship. When our friends in Great Britain face a
challenge, the United States will always be there for them.
Alone, Russiaís crime is worthy of this Councilís action. But
this is not an isolated incident. The assassination attempt in
Salisbury is part of an alarming increase in the use of chemical
weapons. Last year, the North Korean regime used the
nerve agent VX to
publicly assassinate Kim Jong Unís brother in a Malaysian
airport. In Syria, the Assad regime continues to kill its own
people with chemical weapons years after this Council passed
Resolution 2118 to remove the threat from Syriaís chemical
weapons program. When the Security Council created a mechanism
to investigate chemical weapons attacks, that mechanism was
targeted when it began to shine a spotlight on Assadís role in
killing his own people.
A growing concern in all of this dangerous and destabilizing
activity is Russia. Russia failed to ensure Syria destroyed its
chemical weapons program.
Russia killed the
Mechanism when it found Assad liable for chemical attacks.
Russia used its veto to shield Assad five times last year. It
has also provided cover for Syria in the Hague at the
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Russians complained recently that we criticize them too
much. If the Russian government stopped using chemical weapons
to assassinate its enemies; and if the Russian government
stopped helping its Syrian ally to use chemical weapons to kill
Syrian children; and if Russia cooperated with the Organization
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by turning over all
information related to this nerve agent, we would stop talking
about them. We take no pleasure in having to constantly
criticize Russia, but we need Russia to stop giving us so many
reasons to do so.
Russia must fully cooperate with the UKís investigation and
come clean about its own chemical weapons program.
Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council. It is
entrusted in the United Nations Charter with upholding
international peace and security. It must account for its
If we donít take immediate, concrete measures to address this
now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical
weapons used. They could be used here in New York or in cities
or -- of any country that sits on this Council.
This is a defining
Time and time again, Member States say they oppose the
use of chemical weapons under any circumstance. Now, one Member
stands accused of using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil
of another Member. The credibility of this Council will not
survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable.