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

U.S. President Donald Trump | Mandel Ngan  AFP via Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump | Mandel Ngan AFP via Getty Images

The UN Security Council on Thursday rejected a draft resolution submitted by Bolivia over the renewal of the mandate of an investigation of chemical weapons use in Syria.

Ahead of the council vote, Trump on Thursday urged the Security Council to renew the inquiry, saying it was needed to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons.

The United States and Russia, Syria's ally, have put forward rival draft resolutions on renewing the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), tasked with investigating Syria's toxic gas attacks.

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

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. Diplomats in Turtle Bay predicted that Russian Federation would veto the USA measure, which would be the 10th time Moscow has employed this power to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that they are talking about the countries that are the guarantors of the Syrian peace process.

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.

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Representatives of Russian Federation and Bolivia vote in the United Nations (UN) Security Council on a bid to renew an worldwide inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria during a meeting at the UN headquarters in NY, U.S., November 16, 2017.

"Russia has killed the Joint Investigative Mechanism ..."

The United States, Britain and France have insisted that the JIM should be allowed to continue its work and that dozens of other cases of chemical weapons use in Syria must be investigated.

"It promises great difficulties for the future", French Ambassador François Delattre told the council.

The joint UN-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) panel was set up by Russian Federation and the United States in 2015 and unanimously endorsed by the council, which renewed its mandate a year ago.

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.

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