U.S Ambassador Nikki Haley: Either Russia's Incompetent or They Were Played for Fools by Syria

Melanie Arter | April 7, 2017 | 3:48pm EDT
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U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Friday that Russia bears responsibility in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against his own people, because Russia was supposed to be guarantee that Syria had gotten rid of all chemical weapons.

“On Tuesday, the Assad regime launched yet another chemical attack on civilians, murdering innocent men, women, and children in the most gruesome way. Assad did this, because he thought he could get away with it. He thought he could get away with it, because he knew Russia would have his back. That changed last night,” Haley said, referring to U.S. missile strikes on Syria’s airbases.

She said Russia has also stood in the way of the U.N. Security Council dealing with Assad.

“We had hoped the Security Council will move forward, but Russia made it known – as it has done seven times before – that it would use its veto once again, covering up for the Assad regime,” Haley said.

“Russia’s supposed to be a guarantor of the removal of chemical weapons from Syria. Think about that. Russia is supposed to have removed all of the chemical weapons from Syria, but obviously, that has not happened as innocent Syrians continue to be murdered in chemical attacks,” she said.

“Let’s think about the possible reasons for Russia’s failure. It could be that Russia is knowingly allowing chemical weapons to remain in Syria. It could be that Russia has been incompetent in its efforts to remove the chemical weapons, or it could be that the Assad regime is playing the Russians for fools, telling them that there are no chemical weapons, all the while stockpiling them on their bases,” Haley added.

Haley said Iran also bears “a heavy responsibility,” because it “has propped up and shielded” Assad for years. “Iran continues to play a role in the bloodshed in Syria,” she added.

“The United States will no longer wait for Assad to use chemical weapons without any consequences. Those days are over, but now we must move to a new phase – a drive toward a political solution to this horrific conflict,” she said.

“We expect the Syrian regime and its allies to take the U.N. political process seriously – something they have not done up until this point. We expect Russia and Iran to hold their ally accountable and abide by the terms of the ceasefire. We expect this council to speak loudly and forcefully when the regime or its allies undermine the political process and countless of our own resolutions,” she said. “The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary.”

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