Russian Federation and United States at odds over keeping Syria chemical experts

17 November, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged all members of the U.N. Security Council to back the renewal of the worldwide inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, saying it was needed to prevent President Bashar al-Assad from using the arms, Reuters reports. The US resolution was supported by 11 members of the Council.

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.

"Need all on the UN Security Council to vote to renew the Joint Investigative Mechanism for Syria to ensure that Assad Regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again", Trump said in a note on Twitter.

Russia, which is Syria's most important ally, has submitted a rival draft resolution on renewing the experts' mandate to the Security Council.

The 4 April sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens of people prompted the United States to launch missiles on a Syrian air base.

Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the U.S. draft resolution was not balanced.

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The 15-nation council was due to vote on Thursday on rival US and Russian bids to renew the worldwide inquiry, diplomats said on Wednesday, a move that could trigger Russia's 10th veto to block action on Syria. "The only victor would be the people who want to use chemical weapons in Syria - Assad and the Islamic State". Last month, Russian Federation vetoed a USA -sponsored resolution to extend the panel's mandate, saying it needed to see the results of the panel's work before making a decision.

Describing Iran, Russia and Turkey as the three "guarantor" countries, he said the talks would look at what they could do for a lasting political solution in Syria.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council last week that the Washington revised its resolution to include some points in the Russian draft.

In September 2013, Syria accepted a Russian proposal to relinquish its chemical weapons stockpile and join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The JIM experts also said they were "confident" the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for an attack at Um Hosh in Aleppo in September 2016 using mustard gas.

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