Reports of chlorine gas being used against innocent civilians in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian regime are yet another demonstration of its blatant disregard for international law and cruel indifference for the lives of its own people. In November, Russia vetoed the renewal of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), the independent, impartial, technical group unanimously created by the UN Security Council to investigate the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and identify those responsible.
The Department of State has designated two ISIS members, Siddhartha Dhar and Abdelatif Gaini, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. E.O. 13224 imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. These designations seek to deny Dhar and Gaini the resources they need to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks. Among other consequences, all of Dhar’s and Gaini’s property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.
We condemn in the strongest terms the violence perpetrated by DRC security forces on January 21 against church-led peaceful protests that resulted in at least six confirmed deaths, dozens of injuries, and numerous arbitrary arrests.
The Secretary of State reported on January 12, 2018, to the appropriate congressional committees, consistent with Section 306(c)(2) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114; 22 U.S.C. 6021-6091) and pursuant to the authority delegated to the Secretary by the President on January 31, 2013, that he had made the statutorily required determination in order to suspend for six months beyond February 1, 2018, the right to bring an action under Title III of the Act.
Russia has convened us with almost no notice and then put forth a proposal that they hope will distract from a new French initiative to hold accountable those who use chemical weapons. Today, Russia is yet doing what it does best when it comes to chemical weapons. Russia is running from the facts.
The Department of State has designated al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Khalid Batarfi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. E.O. 13224 imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. This designation seeks to deny Batarfi the resources he needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks. Among other consequences, all of Batarfi’s property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.
The international community is at a critical juncture in the fight to uphold the international norm against chemical weapons use. Repeated obstruction by some countries at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations have undermined the ability of the international community to hold accountable those who use chemical weapons.
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Again, I want to thank Foreign Minister Le Drian for hosting today’s signing ceremony for the launch of the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.
This meeting was about two things: stopping chemical weapons attacks and denying impunity to those who use or enable the use of such weapons. For an indication of what these weapons can do to humans, one need look no further than East Ghouta in Syria. Only yesterday more than 20 civilians, most of them children, were victims of an apparent chlorine gas attack.
MS NAUERT: So you may need something on the record, so I’ll just – I want to give you something on the record regarding Venezuela, I’ll give you an update on something we are announcing for next week regarding Qatar, and then give you a little bit on the Secretary’s travel in Europe today, and then take some of your questions. And I’m sorry, we’re going to have to keep today short because we have to go over to the Foreign Press Center.
Administrator Green: Well, first off, my impression is as we drove through Raqqa was really the incredible human spirit. So, as you drive around, you see block after block that's been completely destroyed and devastated. You see rubble everywhere. You see twisted metal. You see streets that are blocked, and yet you see signs of human spirit. You see people with their food stamps. You see people moving things. You see people with small, open shops dusting off this stuff as they go in. And, for me, it's a reminder of what you've all been talking about: that if we can play a role in helping to restore essential services, people can go home, people can go to work, and Raqqa can become what, I think, can be a great city.