Russia and China want the UN Security Council to demand states report when terrorists are developing chemical weapons in Syria, Reuters reported on Wednesday, but some diplomats dismissed the move as a bid to distract from accusations the Syrian government uses such arms.
Russia and China circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member body which Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said could serve as a deterrent to "terrorist" groups such as Islamic State (ISIS) from using chemical weapons.
"We do not do any work on the possibility of terrorists actually preparing to build a chemical weapon," Churkin told reporters, according to Reuters. "The draft resolution … is a fairly simple one, it is filling this gap which we have detected."
"Recently we have had numerous reports of terrorist groups in Syria and neighboring Iraq using chemical weapons," he added.
Reports in the past have said that ISIS had used mustard agent in both Syria and Iraq, and CIA chief John Brennan has warned that the jihadists have used chemical weapons and have the capability to make small quantities of chlorine and mustard gas.
A confidential report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concluded that at least two people were exposed to mustard in Marea, north of Aleppo, in August.
The draft resolution, seen by Reuters, would demand that states, particularly those neighboring Syria, "shall immediately report any actions by non-State actors to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer, or use chemical weapons and their means of delivery to the Security Council."
Some council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the news agency that the draft resolution was a ploy by Russia to divert attention from allegations that the Syrian government continued to use chemical weapons.
Churkin, however, denied it was a distraction.
Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal broker by Moscow and Washington but the OPCW has since found chlorine has been "systematically and repeatedly" used as a weapon. Government and opposition forces have denied using chlorine and have accused each other of doing so.