UN ambassadors clash over Syria, Russia accuses UK of staging attack

World Today

UN ambassadors clash over Syria, Russia accuses UK of staging attack

The United Nations chief is calling on members of the U.N. Security Council to act “responsibly” regarding the recent alleged chemical weapons use in Syria. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres instructed the body to create an investigation team, warning a lack of compromise could lead to a “full blown military escalation.”

CGTN’s Nick Harper reports from New York.

On a fourth day of emergency Syria meetings, the U.N. chief was like a weary parent admonishing his children. He expressed not his anger, but his disappointment that the Security Council could not agree to work together.

“I urge all members to act responsibly in these dangerous circumstances, and I appeal to the Security Council to fulfill its duties and not give up on efforts to agree upon a dedicated, impartial, objective and independent mechanism for attributing responsibility with regard to the use of chemical weapons,” Guterres said.

The U.S. ambassador accused Syria of using chemical weapons at least 50 times. Her Russia counterpart accused Western nations of orchestrating a regime change.

Away from the meeting Russia doubled down on its claims the chemical weapons attack on Douma was faked. Now the defense ministry blamed the U.K. for organizing it.

“Today Russian military department has other evidence that proves direct participation of Britain in organizing this provocation in Eastern Ghouta,” Igor Konashenkov, the spokesperson of Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

Back at the U.N., the U.K.’s ambassador vehemently rejected that claim.

“This is grotesque, it is a blatant lie, it is some of the worst piece of fake news we’ve yet seen from the Russia propaganda machine,” Karen Pierce, the U.K. Ambassador to the UN, said.

Images from the attack on the Damascus suburb last weekend provoked an international outcry – and calls for the U.N. to investigate. But a previous chemical weapons investigation team was disbanded last November after Russia refused to renew its mandate. And forming a new one is proving controversial.

Three proposals were voted down by the Security Council earlier this week. Sweden has now put forward a fourth resolution to create an investigation team. No word on when the Council will vote—but fears are, it will suffer the same fate as the other three vetoed resolutions.

Afshin Molavi talks about possibility of a Western military strike in Syria

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar talked to Afshin Molavi, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, about the likelihood of a Western military strike on Syria.