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Updated on: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 02:09 AM IST

Russia vetoes Syria gas attacks probe

PTI
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The US draft resolution, to allow a Joint Investigation Mechanism to continue its work of identifying perpetrators of Syria’s toxic gas attacks, was supported by 11 of the 15 Security Council members. But  Russia has been critical of the JIM’s findings that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015.

United Nations  : Russia has vetoed for the 10th time to stop action by the UN Security Council against Syria to a US-drafted resolution on the extension of a UN-led probe to determine who was behind the chemical weapons attacks in the strife-torn country, reports PTI.

The US, its allies and human rights groups have termed Russia’s veto a serious blow to the efforts of the Joint Investigation Mechanism (JIM), whose operations ceased after its current mandate expired at midnight on Thursday night.

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The US draft resolution, to allow JIM to continue its work of identifying perpetrators of Syria’s toxic gas attacks, was supported by 11 of the 15 Security Council members.

But, it was vetoed by Russia as Egypt and China abstained, while Bolivia joined Russia in voting against the measure.

Russia has been critical of the JIM’s findings that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015. It also used sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun last April 4 that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others who survived the nerve agent.

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“Russia has killed the JIM, which has overwhelming support of this Council,” the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said at the UN headquarters in New York.

“By eliminating our ability to identify the attackers, Russia has undermined our ability to deter future attacks. Assad and ISIS will no longer be on notice for the use of chemical weapons by Russia’s actions today. The message to anyone listening is clear: in effect, Russia accepts the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” the Indian American top diplomat said.

She further said that regardless of what its Russian protectors do here in the Security Council, the Assad regime should be on clear notice: “the United States does not accept Syria’s use of chemical weapons”.

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Haley said that as the US did in April, it will do it again if it find it must.   “We will defend the international standard against chemical weapons use. It would be wise for the Assad regime to heed this warning,” she added.

Slamming Russia, she said, “What a shame it is that Russia has revealed itself to be a government whose allegiance is to the Syrian regime, not the truth or the protection of innocent civilians.”

Russia may have succeeded in silencing one independent voice in Syria today, but there are others who will carry on this work, Haley added.

Francois Delattre, the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, expressed alarm at the wielding of the veto by the Russian Federation.

The mechanism had worked with professionalism and tenacity, seeking the truth in Syria, providing clear, well- documented truth proving the culpability of the Assad regime in certain attacks and that of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in other attacks, he said.

British Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft also said that the JIM is a panel created by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to monitor whether Syria is upholding a treaty that bans their use.

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Published on: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 12:14 AM IST
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