US, Russia Headed For Showdown Over Syria Chemical Weapons

Randolph Lopez
Ноября 17, 2017

Before the voting, Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said Russian Federation was withdrawing its draft as the Security Council had refused to satisfy Moscow's request to consider the USA draft first.

A competing measure by Russian Federation to renew for a year the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) failed to garner enough support in the council, essentially spelling the end of the body tasked with identifying the perpetrators of chemical attacks.

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.

Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the United States draft resolution was not balanced. The US draft text received 11 votes in favor, while Russian Federation and Bolivia voted against it and China and Egypt abstained.

In reply to Russia's request, US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley argued that a draft submitted to the Security Council first is to be the first to vote on. "In such circumstance, my proposal is to withdraw the resolution initiated by Russia", Nebenzya said.

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The draft text of the United States addressing the renewal of the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN investigating chemical attacks in Syria, failed to be adopted by the UN Security Council Thursday. Later, the United States reviewed its draft to include some of the provisions from the Russian document.

President Donald Trump urged the council to support the panel's continued work, saying on Twitter that this would "ensure" that President Bashar al-Assad's "regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again".

Russian Federation has vetoed nine resolutions on Syria since the conflict started in 2011, including blocking an initial USA bid on October 24 to renew the JIM, saying it wanted to wait for the release two days later of the inquiry's report that blamed a sarin gas attack on the Syrian government.

"Only by doing so can the perpetrators of chemical weapon attacks in Syria and those accountable be brought to justice and can the Syrian people be freed from the suffering caused by chemical weapon attacks", Wu added.

A joint report from the United Nations and global chemical weapons inspectors last month determined the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the attack. If the inquiry is not renewed, Nebenzia said on Monday: "It may send a bad signal, but the way the investigation has been conducted sends an even worse signal". "How then can we trust Russia's support for supposed peace in Syria?" she said.

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