Russian Federation vetoes United Nations resolution on Syria after suspected chemical attack

Russia vetoes UN resolution on Syria after suspected chemical attack

A rival measure put forward by Moscow has failed to garner enough votes for adoption, laying bare the divisions within the council over Syria as the threat of Western military action loomed large.

USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said before the vote that her delegation had tried hard to incorporate Russian proposals in the draft that would not compromise the impartiality of investigation.

A compromise draft resolution, prepared by Sweden and supported by Russian Federation, on the purported chemical attack in Syria's Douma was turned down by the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has warned that there will be a "big price to pay" for the alleged use of toxic gas in Douma that killed at least 40 people, according to Syrian medics and rescuers.

Nebenzia accused the United States of pushing for a vote as a pretext for possible use of force against Syria.

"We are using the veto in order to protect global rule of law, peace and security, to make sure that you do not drag the Security Council into your adventures", Nebenzia said.

"History will record that, on this day, Russian Federation chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people", Haley said, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Even as the Security Council wrangled over a resolution to confer the Council's authority on the probe, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced it was sending a fact-finding mission to Douma, where the chemical weapon attack is said to have taken place.

"We are at a very fragile phase of council deliberations now and we need to reflect carefully on the way forward to ensure that we don't jump into further paralysis (that is) hard to defend or fix", said Skoog.

The vote was 12 in favor, with Bolivia joining Russian Federation in voting "no" and China abstaining.

Bolivia joined Russian Federation in voting "no", and China abstained.

The Russian text was amended on the basis of Swedish draft elements circulated on Monday in order to find common ground in the Security Council for an outcome in support of an investigation by the OPCW into the alleged chemical attack in Douma on Saturday.

The US has threatened a "forceful" military response to the attack, while Russian Federation has warned of "grave repercussions" if military action against Syria is launched.

"We do hope you will come to your senses", Nebenzia said.

Five countries voted for it, four against it and six abstained.

After vetoing the United States resolution, Russia's Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia said it would have recreated the joint investigative mechanism that lapsed in November 2017, because of a Moscow veto and a similar new body would take a long time to become active.

The first Russian resolution also called for the creation of the independent investigation mechanism, but would have required it to take into account the OPCW data as well as information provided by the Syrian government on the rebel organisations, which met with Western objections.

Diplomats said that measure was not expected to pass either.

Russian Federation and Syria have called for the OPCW to send its experts to Douma, where toxic gas was allegedly used in an attack on Saturday, April 7, that killed dozens.

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