UNSC to vote on Syria chem gas attacks probe

Nov 17, 2017, 01:13
UNSC to vote on Syria chem gas attacks probe

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

Russian Federation vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Thursday that would have renewed a mandate for the independent group investigating chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Thursday on rival U.S. and Russian bids to renew an global inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, diplomats said, a move that could trigger Russia's 10th veto to block action on Syria.

Russia's deputy ambassador to the U.N., Vladimir Safronkov, dismissed the JIM's findings about Khan Sheikhoun as "mythical or invented", asking how Syria could be blamed since investigators never visited the town or the air base where the sarin attack was claimed to have been launched.

The White House in June cautioned against another possible chemical weapons strike in Syria, warning that the Assad government would "pay a heavy price" for it.

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"How then can we trust Russia's support for supposed peace in Syria?" she said.

The Russian-drafted resolution was unlikely to garner the nine votes required for adoption, diplomats said.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said late Monday that "Russia is mouthing words of support for JIM renewal, but those words are not backed up by any actions".

He also said that the inquiry fails "basic standards" of an investigation and ignores any information that would cast doubt on Damascus's involvement in the April incident.

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Nebenzia said at the time that Moscow wanted to see a JIM report on attacks, which was issued two days later.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre urged council members to "please think twice before throwing it away, because this would be a major setback for the fundamentals of our common security".

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.

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 group used mustard gas in 2015.

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