Russia vetoes UN bid to set up Syria chemical weapons probe

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UNITED NATIONS: Russia on Tuesday vetoed a US-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution that would have set up an investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria following an alleged toxic gas attack in rebel-held Douma.


It was the 12th time that Russia has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

A rival measure put forward by Russia failed to garner enough votes for adoption.

The showdown between the United States and Russia at the United Nations came as the threat of Western military action in Syria loomed large.

President Donald Trump has warned that there will be a “big price to pay” for the alleged use of toxic gas in Douma that killed at least 40 people, according to Syrian medics and rescuers.

Ahead of the vote, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said “this resolution is the bare minimum that the council can do to respond to the attack” on Saturday.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of “planting this resolution” as a “pretext” to justify action against Syria.

“We are using the veto in order to protect international rule of law, peace and security, to make sure that you do not drag the Security Council into your adventures,” Nebenzia said.

Twelve of the 15 council members backed the US-drafted measure, including France, Britain, African countries, Kazakhstan and Kuwait. Bolivia voted against the draft resolution, while China abstained.

The United States, France and Britain were among the seven countries that voted against the Russian proposal which they argued would not create an independent panel to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use.

China backed Russia’s measure along with four other countries, while two others abstained.

A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member council and no veto from the five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Russia has presented a third draft resolution for a vote that would support an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, but would not create a mechanism to identify the perpetrators.

Diplomats said that measure was not expected to be adopted either. – AFP

Story first published: 11th April 2018

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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