Thank you, Mr. President.
We have reached a decisive moment as a Security Council. On Saturday, the first haunting images appeared from Douma in Syria. We gathered around this table yesterday to express our collective outrage. We then collectively agreed that this Council must take steps to determine exactly what happened in Douma, and to put an end to these barbaric attacks.
The United States has put forward a resolution that accomplishes these shared goals. For weeks, we have been working with every single delegation on this Council to develop a new attribution mechanism for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. We held open and transparent negotiations, so every delegation could provide their input.
And we went the extra mile for one Council member. We adopted paragraph after paragraph of Russia’s proposed resolution. We tried to take every Russian proposal that did not compromise the impartiality, independence, or professionalism of a new attribution mechanism.
After the Douma attack, we updated our resolution with common-sense changes. Our proposal condemns the attack. It demands unhindered humanitarian access for the people in Douma. It calls on the parties to give maximum cooperation to the investigation. And it creates the attribution mechanism that we worked so hard with each of you to develop. This resolution is the bare minimum that the Council can do to respond to the attack.
The United States did everything possible to work toward Security Council unity on this text. Again, we accepted every recommendation that did not compromise the impartiality and independence of the proposed attribution mechanism.
I want to say a brief word about Russia’s resolution, which is also before us for a vote. Our resolutions are similar, but there are important differences. The key point is our resolution guarantees that any investigations will truly be independent. Russia’s resolution gives Russia itself the chance to choose the investigators and then to assess the outcome. There is nothing independent about that.
The United States is not asking to choose the investigators, and neither should Russia. The United States is not asking to review the findings of any investigation before they are final, and neither should Russia.
All of us say we want an independent investigation. Our resolution achieves that goal. Russia’s does not. This is not an issue that more time or more consultations could have resolved. At a certain point, you’re either for an independent and impartial investigation, or you’re not. And now that the Douma attack has happened, this is not a decision that we can delay any longer.
The United States calls on all Security Council members to vote in favor of our resolution and to abstain or vote against the Russian draft. The Syrian people are counting on us.