Blinken’s remarks come as report says cases of confusing illness affect diplomats in Paris and Geneva.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was still trying to get to the bottom of a mysterious disease that had affected US diplomats posted around the world, but did not yet know what was causing the ordeal or who was behind it. not.
Blinken made the remarks on Thursday as more cases of the mysterious neurological syndrome known as Havana syndrome emerged, this time in Paris and Geneva.
The cases among officials working on diplomatic missions in the two cities were reported internally last year and eventually to Washington, reports the Wall Street Journal. They joined about 200 other diplomats based around the world to allegedly experience what the Biden administration officially calls “deviant health incidents.”
“To date, we do not know exactly what happened and we do not know exactly who is responsible,” Blinken said in an interview with US broadcaster MSNBC.
The syndrome, first reported in Havana, Cuba in 2016, still caused the suspicion of foul play. A December 2020 report by a National Academy of Sciences Committee commissioned by the State Department found that “directed” microwave radiation is probably the cause of the disease, but has not determined a source.
Blinken said on Thursday that Washington had raised the issue with Russia, but still could not make a determination on who is responsible.
Symptoms of the condition include dizziness, headache, ringing in the ears and vertigo.
At least three officials serving at the U.S. Consulate in Geneva were believed to have the syndrome, according to the Wall Street Journal, with at least one to be taken from Switzerland to the US for treatment.
According to the newspaper, embassy officials reported at least one alleged case in Paris. Previous suspected cases have been reported in China, Vietnam, Colombia, Austria, Serbia and Germany.
Blinken said he met with foreign ministry employees around the world who described the illnesses and disruptions they caused in their lives.
“There is no doubt in my mind that people have been directly and powerfully affected,” he said.
“We work overtime all over the government to get to the bottom of what happened, who is responsible. And in the meantime, to make sure we care about anyone who is affected and to protect all our people to the best of our ability. ”
Yet Blinken and U.S. President Joe Biden have been criticized for their reluctance to call the phenomena an “attack.”
In October, Biden signed a two-party bill into law that would boost the support of officials plagued by the symptoms, which in some cases has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
In November, Blinken announced that Jonathan Moore, a high-ranking deputy in the foreign affairs department, has been appointed head of the task force investigating the cases, after Pamela Spratlen, a former retired diplomat, resigned amid criticism of her handling of the investigation.