Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Russia Vetoes Security Council Resolution on Chemical Weapons in Syria

Russia Vetoes Security Council Resolution on Chemical Weapons in Syria

The council has met four times in the past week on chemical weapons in Syria, with the U.S., Britain and France facing off against Russia, Syrian President Bashar Assad's key ally that insists no chemical attack took place in the Douma suburb.

The 15-member council failed on Tuesday to approve three draft resolutions on chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

A senior Russian lawmaker says Russia will engage its warships in the Mediterranean Sea to protect Russian assets in Syria from a possible USA strike.

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

The visit that RIA Novosti and Tass reported on Wednesday comes amid growing expectation of USA retaliation against Syria for a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town. "I appeal to the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility and find unity on this issue", he said.

She said that history will record that Russian Federation chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people.

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The US proposal would have revived the work of a previous panel, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism, that shut down in November when Russian vetoed the renewal of its mandate. "It is a travesty".

After vetoing the USA 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.

Resolutions drafted by each country have been rejected at the UN Security Council.

Moscow opposes any Western strike on its close ally Assad.

Both Trump and his defense secretary Jim Mattis abruptly cancelled upcoming travel plans Tuesday, as the USS Donald Cook - a guided-missile destroyer - moved to within striking range of Syria.

The Eurocontrol airspace organization said that the European Aviation Safety Agency had sent a "Rapid Alert Notification" that flight operations needed to consider the possibility of air or missile strikes into Syria.

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French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been coordinating closely with Washington, said he would decide on a response "in the coming days".

British Prime Minister Theresa May says "all the indications" are that Syrian forces were behind a chemical attack in the town of Douma, and insists that the "continued use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged".

Syria's United Nations envoy Bashar Ja'afari, speaking at the close of the meeting, emphasized that his Government had officially invited the OPCW to send its fact-finding mission to investigate.

The Council rejected a third text also proposed by Russian Federation which concerned the work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM).

A source from a pro-regime unit told AFP Tuesday there were "precautionary measures being taken by the Syrian army, especially the airports and military bases".

He also noted that local residents told Russian officers they were unaware of any burials of victims of a purported chemical attack.

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"We would call upon them to do that but I think a military response is appropriate".

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