Russia vetoes UN resolution on Syria chemical attack

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United Nations, April 13 (IANS) Russia on Wednesday vetoed a UN resolution that would have required Bashar al-Assad’s government to co-operate with international inquiries into last week’s chemical attack in Syria.

It was the eighth time during Syria’s six-year-old civil war that Russia has vetoed a proposed Security Council resolution on Syria, CNN reported.

Among the 15 council members, ten countries voted in favour of the resolution, while Bolivia joined council’s veto-wielding power Russia in voting no.

China, which has vetoed six resolutions on Syria since the civil war began, abstained from the vote, along with Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.

The document drafted by the United Kingdom, France and the United States demanded the Syrian military to provide UN investigators with unfettered access to details of their operations on the day of the alleged attack, Xinhua news agency reported.

The text also condemned the reported use of chemical weapons and demanded a speedy investigation.

On April 4, a reported toxic gas attack hit the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib, killing over 80 people and wounding scores of others.

Two days after, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles against the Shairat military base in central Syria, where from, according to the US, airplanes carrying chemical weapons took off.

Ahead of the vote, Russia’s Deputy Representative to the UN Vladimir Safronkov told the council that putting the draft resolution into a vote did not serve a useful purpose.

Safronkov said Russia has proposed an independent international mission sent by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to visit Khan Sheikhoun and the Shairat airbase for investigations.

He said Russia hopes the US can give constructive response to this suggestion.

Numerous Western powers, including the United States, blamed the government of Bashar al-Assad of the attack.

The Syrian government denied possession of chemical weapons, while the Russian Defence Ministry accused Syrian rebels of producing toxic agents in a depot which exploded under a strike by Syrian warplanes and caused the contamination.

–IANS

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