Russia Blocks UN Action on Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo courtesy: Kremlin
President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo courtesy: Kremlin

With a ‘no’ vote from permanent member Russia, the United Nations Security Council failed Wednesday to adopt a resolution that would have condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and called on the Government to cooperate with an investigation into the incident.

Although President Trump decided to attack Syria with an unfounded assumption that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered the chemical attack, there is no evidence available for Assad’s role in the attack.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, regards the U.S. airstrikes on Syria as an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext.

In a Kremlin statement, Putin said the Syrian Army has no chemical weapons. The fact of the destruction of all Syrian chemical weapons’ stockpiles has been recorded and verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a specialised UN body.

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Putin believes that complete disregard for factual information about the use by terrorists of chemical weapons drastically aggravates the situation.

While 10 of the Council’s 15 members voted in favour on Wednesday, Russia rejected the text, as permanent member China, as well as non-permanent members Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.

A negative vote – or veto – from one of the Council’s five permanent members means a resolution cannot be adopted.

The proposed measure – drafted by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Council’s other permanent members – would have strongly condemned “the reported use of chemical weapons in the [Syria], in particular the attack on Khan Shaykhun,” the site of last week’s incident.

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The measure would and also had called on the Syrian Government to comply with relevant recommendations of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon’s (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM) and the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).

In February, Russia and China vetoed a measure that would have imposed sanctions on a number of individuals and entities linked to the use of chemical weapons in cases where responsibility was established by the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).

Although the Council came together on 19 December to unanimously adopt a resolution demanding that all parties to the Syrian conflict ensure immediate and unhindered access for the monitoring of evacuations from eastern Aleppo, over the past five years, Russia has vetoed eight Council texts on the Syrian conflict, while China has vetoed six of those eight.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman