losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com December 17, 2017


Russian Federation casts 10th United Nations veto on Syria action, blocking inquiry renewal

17 November 2017, 01:13 | Katrina Lee

A Security Council meeting

A Security Council meeting

The United Nations Security Council will hold a vote on Thursday to repeat an global inquiry on the chemical weapon use in Syria.

The measure could face a veto from Russian Federation, which is pushing a rival resolution opposed by the US and other Security Council members.

It means that the JIM's mandate expires at midnight Thursday, rather than be extended for another year.

The UN Security Council was to vote yesterday on a US-drafted resolution that would extend for a year an worldwide probe to determine who is behind chemical attacks in Syria's six-year war.

The vote sparked a war of words between Russia and the United States in the council, just hours after White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump believed he could work with Russian President Vladimir Putin on issues like Syria.

In September 2013, Syria accepted a Russian proposal to relinquish its chemical weapons stockpile and join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Addressing the council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley assailed the veto as a "deep blow", saying "Russia has killed the investigative mechanism which has overwhelming support of this council".

United Nations diplomats said they were expecting a Russian veto of the USA text during the council meeting scheduled for 3:00 pm (2000 GMT).

Russia Demands that US Respect Agreement on Antiterrorism in Syria

A resolution requires nine votes to be adopted at the council, but five countries - Russia, Britain, China, France and the United States - can block adoption with their veto power.

The 4 April sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens of people prompted the United States to launch missiles on a Syrian air base.

The mandate for the joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which found the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent sarin in an April 4 attack, expires at midnight Thursday.

"Let there be no doubt: we have unleashed a monster here", said Delattre.

Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the U.S. draft resolution was not balanced.

"Russia is doing everything possible to prevent that from happening", he said.

Previous reports by the JIM have found that Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine attacks on three villages in 2014 and 2015, and that the Islamic State (IS) militant group used mustard gas in 2015.

Washington and its allies have blamed Assad's government for the Khan Sheikhun attack, but Syria has denied using chemical weapons, with strong backing from Russian Federation.

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