Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Russian Federation vetoes United Nations bid to set up Syria chemical weapons probe

Russian Federation vetoes United Nations bid to set up Syria chemical weapons probe

Russian Federation and the United States tangled Tuesday at the U.N. Security Council over Syria as they blocked attempts by each other to set up global investigations into alleged chemical weapons attacks in the war-ravaged country.

While 12 of the 15 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the USA text, Russian Federation and Bolivia voted against it and China abstained.

Western nations objected to Russia's demand for the Security Council to have effective veto power over the findings of a new body.

Nebenzia warned against any USA military action, saying that armed force "under mendacious pretext" and with Russian troops in Syria, "could lead to grave repercussions". "The president holds Syria and Russian Federation responsible for this chemical weapons attack".

United States officials told NBC and CNN that the Washington now "has blood and urine samples" from the reported chemical weapons attack that suggest "the presence of both chlorine gas and an unnamed nerve agent", two officials said.

It was the second vote by the council on Tuesday. "I appeal to the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility and find unity on this issue", he said.

"By its actions, the U.S. is increasingly aggravating the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, bringing sufferings to civilians and actually conniving at terrorists who have been tormenting the Syrian people for seven years and provoking a new wave of refugees from that country and the region as a whole", it said.

It was not immediately clear whether that decision would be delayed by news that a chemical weapons watchdog will be allowed access to Douma, the site of the attack, where at least 40 people were killed.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who delayed a trip to Saudi Arabia to deal with the Syria crisis, said he had asked special envoy Staffan de Mistura to return to NY as soon as possible to chart a way forward.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was "not about intervening in a civil war".

The attack comes just days after the Security Council marked the anniversary of another attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017, which killed up to 100 people.

Haley expressed confidence that the recent military strikes against Syria had crippled what she called "Syria's chemical weapons program".

This is now the 12th occasion that Russian Federation has vetoed action on Syria at the Security Council, which it has the right to do as one of the council's five permanent members.

KELEMEN: Russia had been saying there were no signs of chemical weapons' use in Duma last weekend.

The vote reflected the deep divisions in the U.N.'s most powerful body, which has been paralyzed in dealing with the seven-year Syrian conflict and chemical weapons use in the country.

"The United Kingdom, France, and the United States acted, not as revenge, not as punishment, not as a symbolic show of force", she said.

The State Department says it doesn't know what chemical was used, but says it is confident Syria was responsible.

"While Russia was busy protecting the regime, Assad took notice", she said.

"Just as the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons last weekend was not an isolated incident, our response is part of a new course charted a year ago to deter future use of chemical weapons", she said.

Like this: