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15 April 2018, 07:16 | Opal Carroll
US wants UN vote Tuesday on Syria gas attack inquiry
Rival U.S. and Russian resolutions to determine responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria suffered defeats at the United Nations on Tuesday, a result that the Russian ambassador said the Trump administration wanted so it can "justify the use of force against Syria".
Similarly, a competing draft penned by Russian Federation which would have established the mechanism for one year as well but would have given the Security Council the responsibility to assign accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, was also not adopted.
The nation is threatening to use its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to prevent an investigation into the attack by Bashar al-Assad's regime on Douma, a besieged town in eastern Ghouta that killed up to 80 people and injured hundreds more.
Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, combs her hair before the start of a Security Council meeting, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at U.N.
As tensions escalate over possible USA -led military reprisals for the suspected attack, the U.N.'s most powerful body remained paralyzed, unable to overcome its deep divisions that have been a hallmark of its debates during the seven years of conflict in Syria.
Six Council members - Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Russian Federation voted in favour of the draft while seven against (France, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States) and two abstentions (Cote d'Ivoire and Kuwait).
Haley dismissed the Russian draft as "all about protecting the Assad regime" because of provisions that would have required the Security Council to endorse its findings - in other words, giving Russia a veto over any attempt to apportion blame.
"You do not want to hear the fact that no traces of a chemical attack were found in Douma", Nebenzia said.
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Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Washington's decision to put forward its resolution could be a prelude to a Western strike on Syria.
The threats of USA military action against Syria "should make us seriously anxious, all of us", Nebenzia said.
Russian Federation and Syria have called for the OPCW to send its experts to Douma.
"Whatever happens next has to abide by global law", Swedish UN Ambassador Olof Skoog told reporters on Wednesday, referring to U.S. plans for military action. A US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.
The OPCW has said the team of experts will deploy to Syria shortly.
He added that the new mechanism, as proposed by the United States, would carry out an investigation with no regard to the standards set out in the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and of Their Destruction, known as the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The United States, France and Britain have been consulting about launching a military strike, but May has not confirmed whether U.K. forces will participate directly.
Both leaders agreed the global community needs to respond to uphold the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.
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