UNSC to vote on Syria chem gas attacks probe

Wiki Media

Wiki Media

The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Thursday on rival U.S. and Russian bids to renew an global inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, diplomats said, a move that could trigger Russia's 10th veto to block action on Syria.

Syrian ally Russian Federation withdrew its own rival draft resolution to renew the inquiry, formally known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), after losing a rare procedural vote for its text to be considered after the council voted on the United States draft.

President Donald Trump urged the council to support the panel's continued work, saying on Twitter that this would "ensure" that President Bashar al-Assad's "regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again". Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the United States draft "has no chances to be passed.".

President Erdogan had said that he was "pleased" that relations between Ankara and Moscow had reached a "very advanced level", during the news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Dozens of people, including at least ten children, have been killed and more than 200 injured in a suspected chemical attack in northern Syria, multiple activist groups claim.

Turkish, Russian and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Turkey's Mediterranean city of Antalya at the weekend ahead of a trilateral meeting on Syria in Russia's Sochi city next Wednesday, Turkish foreign minister has said.

It would mark the tenth time that Moscow has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its ally Syria.

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Russian Federation has sharply criticized the JIM after its latest report blamed the Syrian air force for a sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun that left scores dead.

This will be a serious blow to efforts to hold those responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria accountable. The United States put to a resolution to vote to renew the JIM with the same mandate for an additional year on October 24, two days before the release of the JIM's final report.

The mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism expires on November 17.

It remained unclear whether Russian Federation would veto the US-drafted measure, which would be the 10th time that Moscow has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

"China is firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons by whichever country, organization or person for whatever purposes and under whatever circumstances", said Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the Russian veto was a blow to worldwide efforts to curb the use of chemical weapons. 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".

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