Divided UN fails to respond to alleged Syria chemical attack

Divided UN fails to respond to alleged Syria chemical attack

UN: Russia on Tuesday vetoed a US-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution that would have set up an investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria following an alleged toxic gas attack in rebel-held Douma.
It was the 12th time that Russia has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.
A rival measure put forward by Moscow failed to garner enough votes for adoption, laying bare the divisions within the council over Syria as the threat of Western military action loomed large.
President Donald Trump has warned that there will be a “big price to pay” for the alleged use of toxic gas in Douma that killed at least 40 people, according to Syrian medics and rescuers.
Russia slams US over resolution
As the showdown between Russia and the United States got underway, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of “planting this resolution” as a “pretext” to justify action against Syria.
“We are using the veto in order to protect international rule of law, peace and security, to make sure that you do not drag the Security Council into your adventures,” Nebenzia said.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley shot back, saying “Russia has trashed the credibility of the council.”
“Whenever we propose anything meaningful on Syria, Russia vetoes it. It is a travesty,” she said.
Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon said that any US missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites targeted.
Alexander Zasypkin, in the comments broadcast on Tuesday evening, said he was referring to a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian chief of staff.
“If there is a strike by the Americans then … the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” he told Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV.
Twelve of the 15 council members backed the US-drafted measure. Bolivia voted against it alongside Russia, while China abstained.
Britain, France and the United States were among the seven countries that voted against the Russian proposal which they argued would not create an independent panel to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use.
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.
Russia warns US over military action
After warning Monday of “grave repercussions” of US military action, the Russian ambassador urged the United States to “come to your senses” and refrain from ordering strikes on Syria.
“If you took the decision to carry out an illegal military adventure – and we do hope that you will come to your senses – well then you will have to bear responsibility for it,” said Nebenzia.