Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

United Nations fails to adopt Russian draft resolution on Syria

United Nations fails to adopt Russian draft resolution on Syria

Russian Federation on Saturday failed to win UN backing for a condemnation of military strikes launched by the United States, Britain and France on Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack.

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to the Summit of the Americas in Peru's Lima, citing the Syrian developments and on Tuesday conferred with National Security Adviser John Bolton and defence officials.

A third resolution, also drafted by Russian Federation, backing the sending of investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog agency to the site of the suspected attack in Douma also failed to pass later on Tuesday.

France on Tuesday became the latest ally to warn of action if Syria "crossed a red line" in Saturday's suspected chemical attack.

According to several media reports, representatives of both nations in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) blocked each other over a move to allow global investigations into chemical attacks in Syria, where a civil war has been on since 2011. Twelve council members voted in favour of the US-drafted resolution, while Bolivia joined Russian Federation in voting no, and China abstained.

At least 60 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in Saturday's suspected chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma, according to a Syrian relief group.

European governments said they will wait for the results of the OPCW investigation and for more solid forensic evidence before taking the next step on the matter.

It received six votes, seven voted against it and two abstained.

"We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, Britain or the United States to pass. Haley said the draft resolution was not impartial or independent since it would allow Russian Federation to veto investigators and staff for the new body - and to block its findings.

He accused the U.S. of introducing the resolution knowing it would not pass so they could use it as a pretext to attack Syria.

"The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly", it said in a statement.

While Haley had insisted on an independent investigation mechanism in addition to the OPCW fact-finding mechanism, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert praised the Hague-based organisation that won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2013. "The US doesn't draw the red line, but acts the red line she said", she said noting the the strike crippled the Syrian chemical weapons program that US claims exists.

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