Russian Federation vetoes UNSC resolution on Syria chemical weapons probe

Affected Syrian children receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly used poisonous gas in an attack on rebel-held Douma

Russian Federation on Tuesday vetoed a US-drafted Security Council resolution on an investigation mechanism for chemical weapons use in Syria.

Haley said the draft resolution was not impartial or independent since it would allow Russian Federation to veto investigators and staff for the new body - and to block its findings.

The U.S. draft had the overwhelming support of the council with 12 members of the 15-member council voting in favor, and only two - Russian Federation and Bolivia - voting against.

Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, combs her hair before the start of a Security Council meeting, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at U.N. headquarters.

Russian Federation had proposed setting up an investigative panel under rules that would have required Security Council approval of its findings - a measure the West charged would compromise its independence.

By the terms of that text, the Council would have established a United Nations independent mechanism of investigation, also for an initial period of one year, and urged it to fully ensure a truly impartial, independent, professional and credible way to conduct its investigation.

"Our resolutions are similar, but there are important differences". I appeal to the Security Council to fulfil its responsibility and find unity on this issue, he said.

"The United States is not asking to choose the investigators, and neither should Russian Federation".

"Why do you need the mechanism, what do you need it for, when you have already appointed the guilty party prior to the investigation?" he asked.

"The United States is again trying to mislead the global community and is making yet one more step toward confrontation", Nebenzia told the 15-member Security Council. Trump on Monday warned of a quick, forceful response once responsibility for the attack was established.

"You do not want to hear the fact that no traces of a chemical attack were found in Douma", Nebenzia said.

Last year, the United States launched missile strikes against a Syrian airbase from two navy destroyers after the Syrian Government was alleged to have used chemical weapons, leading to civilian fatalities.

As the showdown between Russian Federation and the United States got underway, Moscow's Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of "planting this resolution" as a "pretext" to justify action against Syria and "taking yet one more step toward confrontation". "It is clear that the provocation step has nothing to do with a desire to investigate what happened".

The council has met four times in the past week on chemical weapons in Syria, with the U.S., Britain and France facing off against Russia, Syrian President Bashar Assad's key ally that insists no chemical attack took place in the Douma suburb. In all, seven members voted against the Russian draft, with six voting in favor.

The vote Tuesday afternoon in the 15-member Security Council was 12 in favor.

It too failed to pass the threshold of nine. The U.S., Britain and France voted against both measures but didn't have to use their vetoes.

Right before the vote on the third text, Swedish Ambassador to the United Nations Olof Skoog requested a suspension of the meeting for extra consultations. "This is very alarming for us", he said.

"The record will not be kind to one permanent member of this council".

The US proposal would have revived the work of a previous panel, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism, that shut down in November when Russian vetoed the renewal of its mandate.

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