Russia Vetoes ‘Unbalanced’ US Resolution on Syrian Chemical Weapons

A Russian resolution on the international inquiry into chemical attacks in Syria has been rejected by the UN Security Council, shortly after Russia vetoed a rival proposal by the US, calling it flawed and unbalanced.

The US and Russia both put forward their respective resolutions to the UN Security Council on how the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) should proceed with investigating alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria, including the April incident in Khan Shaykhun. Washington pinned the blame for that attack on the Assad government without waiting for any solid evidence, and JIM inspectors never actually went on the ground to investigate.

The vetoed US resolution on extending the JIM mandate was supported by 11 members of the Security Council. Apart from Russia, Bolivia opposed the resolution, while China and Egypt abstained.

Russia initially withdrew its rival proposal shortly before the US one was voted on. It later put it back up for consideration at Bolivia’s request. The Russian proposal was voted down, gaining the support of only four Council members, while seven rejected it and seven abstained. The US, France, the UK, Sweden, Ukraine, Italy and Uruguay voted against the draft.

Following the vote, Russian UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia said he was disappointed with the outcome, as Russia’s proposal was “aimed at the extension and qualitative improvement” of the probe. “We expected that various tricks would be used to make Russia look responsible for a potential end of the JIM probe,” Nebenzia said. He, in turn, placed the blame at the feet of those Council members who rejected the Russian draft.

“There was nothing balanced in the US draft,” Nebenzia said, adding that its only goal was to “question the role of Russia in the process of Syrian political settlement.” In fact, the UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft said as much before the vote. “The UK Ambassador said Russia has no place in the political process in Syria. Here it is,” Nebenzia said.

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