Russia, US at Odds Before Vote on Syria Chemical Weapons Team

Russia, US at Odds Before Vote on Syria Chemical Weapons Team

Russia, US at Odds Before Vote on Syria Chemical Weapons Team

Russian Federation has vetoed the US-initiated draft resolution of the United Nations Security Council on extending the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Syria.

Russian Federation and the United States have put forward rival draft resolutions on renewing for a year the mandate of the UN-led Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), tasked with identifying perpetrators of Syria's toxic gas attacks.

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

Two days ago, he said, the North American Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, affirmed that there is a resolution of the UN Security Council that allows his country to maintain troops on Syrian soil.

Jaberi Ansari, for his part, said Syria's resilience and the consecutive successes it has achieved on the war on terrorism as well as the restoration of security to all the Syrian cities and areas would be a victory not only to the Syrian people, but also to the Iranian people and all other peoples who believe in their right to defending their countries, independence and sovereign decision. The mandate of the current investigative mission expires on Thursday.

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It remained unclear whether Russian Federation would veto the US-drafted measure, which would be the 10th time that Moscow has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally. The two documents had different timeframe - the Russian draft extended the mandate until May 16, 2018, while the USA version gave the mission 24 months since the adoption of the resolution.

The UN Security Council was to vote yesterday on a US-drafted resolution that would extend for a year an global probe to determine who is behind chemical attacks in Syria's six-year war.

Trump said on Twitter that the joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which decided who is to blame, was needed to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons.

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".

The joint UN-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) panel was set up by Russian Federation and the United States in 2015 and unanimously endorsed by the council, which renewed its mandate previous year.

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