UNSC to vote on Syria chem gas attacks probe

Syrian pro-government troops
Russia Demands that US Respect Agreement on Antiterrorism in Syria
Author

17 November, 2017

President Donald Trump on Thursday voiced his support for the renewal of a United Nations investigation into chemical attacks in Syria, a proposal the Security Council is set to vote on later in the day.

The measure could face a veto from Russian Federation, which is pushing a rival resolution opposed by the USA and other Security Council members.

The mandate of the current investigative mission expires on Thursday.

Russian Federation said Tuesday it is talking to the United States about renewing the mandate of experts working to determine who was responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but the USA says Moscow won't consider the American draft resolution.

The United States, Britain and France have insisted that the JIM should be allowed to continue its work and that dozens of other cases of chemical weapons use in Syria must be investigated.

The summit at Putin's official residence in Sochi will involve the three "guarantors of the process of political settlement and stability and security that we see now in Syria", Peskov said. "The draft text Russian Federation put forward without any negotiation is unhelpful, has no support, and can not be taken seriously".

The attack on April 4 triggered global outrage as images of dying children were shown worldwide, prompting the United States to launch a missile strike on a Syrian air base a few days later.

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Nebenzia said Monday, "It is important that the JIM is renewed but on an updated mandate because the systemic errors that we saw with the recent report should be corrected, and that's the aim of our resolution".

French Ambassador Francois Delattre urged council members to "please think twice before throwing it away, because this would be a major setback for the fundamentals of our common security".

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he opposed the USA measure because it was "geared toward entrenching the inherent flaws of the JIM" and did nothing to improve its work.

Washington and its allies have blamed Assad's government for the Khan Sheikhun attack, but Syria has denied using chemical weapons, with strong backing from Russian Federation.

The mandate for the joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which found that Syrian regime used the banned nerve agent sarin in an April 4 attack, expires at midnight Thursday.

While Russia agreed to the 2015 creation of the JIM, it has consistently questioned its findings, which also concluded that the Syrian government used chlorine as a weapon several times.


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