Russia vetoes Security Council resolution on alleged chemical attack in Syria

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/4/13 6:32:07

Russia Wednesday vetoed a Western draft resolution on an alleged chemical attack in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.

Among 15 council members, ten voted in favor; Bolivia and the council's veto-wielding power Russia voted against; China, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan abstained.

The document drafted by the United Kingdom, France and the United States demanded the Syrian military to provide UN investigators with unfettered access to details of their operations on the day of the alleged attack.

The text also condemned the reported use of chemical weapons and demanded a speedy investigation.

On April 4, a reported toxic gas attack hit the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's Idlib, killing over 80 people and wounding scores of others.

Two days later, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles against the Shairat military base in central Syria, where the United States believes airplanes carrying chemical weapons took off.

Ahead of the vote, Russia's Deputy Representative to the UN Vladimir Safronkov told the council that putting the draft resolution into a vote did not serve a useful purpose.

Safronkov said Russia has proposed an independent international mission sent by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to visit Khan Sheikhoun and the Shairat airbase for investigations.

He said that Russia hopes the United States can give a constructive response to this suggestion.

China's Ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi said China supports the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in conducting a comprehensive, objective and impartial investigation into relevant cases.

Liu said China supports the language in the text that condemns the use of chemical weapons and demands an investigation into the alleged chemical attack.

However, he said some elements of the text need to be amended to secure consensus among council members and therefore China abstained.

"We deeply regret the failure to reach such consensus on the draft resolution," he noted.

Liu also called upon relevant parties to stay on the course for the political settlement to the Syrian issues, uphold the Syrian-owned and Syrian-led principle and support the United Nations as the main mediator.

Western powers, including the United States, blamed the government of Bashar al-Assad of the attack.

The Syrian government denied possession of chemical weapons, while the Russian Defense Ministry accused Syrian rebels of producing toxic agents in a depot which exploded under a strike by Syrian warplanes and caused the contamination.

After the vote, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said with its veto, Russia said no to cooperation with UN's investigation and Russia said no to a resolution that would have helped to promote peace in Syria.

Posted in: EUROPE

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