Russia vetoes UNSC resolution condemning Syrian chemical weapon attack

World Today

Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning last week’s alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria and calling for an independent investigation. The attack prompted U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian air base, widening the gap between Washington and Moscow.

CGTN’s Lorna Shaddick filed this report.

Russia vetoes United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syrian chemical attack

Russia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the chemical weapons attack in northern Syria and calling for an independent investigation. It's the 8th resolution on Syria Russia has vetoed in six years. The vote comes as relevant parties are preparing for negotiations in Geneva next month.

Staffan de Mistura holds regular monthly briefings at the UNSC on the situation in Syria.

But after last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack, and the reactionary U.S. airstrike, this one was more highly charged than most.

“Let us view this moment of crisis – and it is a moment of crisis – as a watershed and an opportunity perhaps for a new level of seriousness in the search for a political solution,” said de Mistura.

Mr. de Mistura urged the U.S. and Russia to work together, saying a political solution was the only way forward in Syria.

Even as he was speaking, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was meeting his counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

But those talks weren’t enough to prevent yet another display of gridlock at the Security Council in a vote on a resolution condemning the alleged chemical weapons attack.

The resolution was brought by the so-called P3 – the U.S., U.K., and France.

It’s the fourth draft resolution on Syria to come before the council over the last week or so.

But the wording just wasn’t acceptable for Russia as it called for an investigation into that alleged chemical attack in Syria.

So the Kremlin cast its 8th veto on Syria in the last 6 years.

Russia said the document pre-judged who was responsible for the suspected gas attack since, despite denials from Damascus, Western powers have already said the Assad government is most likely behind it.

“The main problem was that the draft resolution by the troika appointed the guilty party prior to an independent and objective investigation. This is an approach that is incompatible with legal norms,” Vladimir Safronkov, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the U.N. said.

But the U.S. said Moscow’s continual backing for the Syrian government would only make it more isolated.

“To my colleagues from Russia, you are isolating yourselves from the international community every time one of Assad’s planes drop another barrel bomb on civilians and every time Assad tries to starve another community to death. People not just in the West but across the Middle East and the world are speaking out against Assad’s brutality. It is long past time for Russia to stop covering for Assad,” Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. said.

U.N. diplomats said Russia has put forward a rival resolution condemning the gas attack and also the U.S. strike, though it’s not clear if that will come to a vote.