Haley warns UN: Russia may use chemical weapon on New York

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United Nation, March 15 (IANS) Expressing solidarity with the UK, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned that if concrete measures were not initiated, “Russia will use chemical weapons here in New York or in cities of any country that sits on this Council”.

Haley said the Donald Trump administration “stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain” following a nerve agent attack against a Russian double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury last week, the CNN reported.

In the strongest statement yet from the US administration on the affair, Haley said Washington shared the UK’s assessment that the Russian state was behind the poisoning and demanded a firm international response.

“The US believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the UK using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said in her remarks at a UN Security Council emergency session on Wednesday, blasting the Russian government for flouting international law, the CNN report said.

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“If we don’t take immediate concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used,” said Haley.

“They could be used here in New York or in cities of any country that sits on this council.”

Russia, however, has dismissed the accusations as “fairy tales” and denied any involvement in the attack which landed the Skripals, along with a British police officer, in the hospital.

The UK believes Russia was behind the attempted murders of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia because of the nerve agent used. Novichok, was developed in the Soviet Union and could not be replicated by non-state actors, CNN quoted UK officials as saying.

London on Wednesday announced it would expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow failed to meet a UK deadline to give a “credible response”.

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Moscow’s Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, even suggested the UK might have been responsible for the attack in an attempt to smear Russia. “In the Russian Federation, no scientific research or development work under the title Novichok were carried out,” he told the Security Council.

Laying the blame firmly at Russia’s door and highlighting Moscow’s support of the Assad regime in Syria following that government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians, Haley told fellow diplomats the world had reached “a defining moment”.

“Time and time again, members states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance,” said Haley. “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,” she said.

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–IANS

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