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

Russia Demands that US Respect Agreement on Antiterrorism in Syria

UNSC to vote on Syria chem gas attacks probe

The UN Security Council was to vote yesterday on a US-drafted resolution that would extend for a year an global probe to determine who is behind chemical attacks in Syria's six-year war.

Russia, Syria's ally on the Security Council, has put forward its own draft resolution rejecting the findings of the 26-member United Nations panel, a proposal that has little chance of passage. Bolivia also voted against it.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

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Washington and its allies have blamed President Bashar al-Assad's government for the attack, but Syria has denied using chemical weapons, with strong backing from Russian Federation. The draft resolution was rejected as only four members of the council voted in favor, seven voted against and four abstained.

In April, more than 80 people were killed in a sarin attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun - an attack that prompted the United States to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.

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

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The vote sparked a war of words between Russia and the United States in the council, just hours after White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump believed he could work with Russian President Vladimir Putin on issues like Syria.

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 previous year. The Russian OPCW envoy, Alexander Shulgin, said a week ago that the investigation in fact is particularly "skewed" towards one theory behind the chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province that took place in April. 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".

A spokesman for the USA mission to the United Nations said on Monday that Russian Federation has refused to engage in negotiations on the U.S. draft resolution.

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He slammed Washington's text as "totally unacceptable", arguing that it would extend the mandate "without changing any of the current activities of the mechanism which are in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention". "How then can we trust Russia's support for supposed peace in Syria?" she said.

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