Washington: The United States has slammed Russia for vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution extending the mandate of the only official mission probing the use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying Moscow has "once again" demonstrated it would do anything to protect its ally.
Russia on Tuesday vetoed the US-sponsored UN resolution that would extend the work of inspectors seeking to determine who is responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Russia has blocked such a move by the UN Security Council a number of times, White House press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at her daily news conference.
Russia has blocked the UN Security Council action to hold accountable those who use chemical weapons, including terrorists and the regime of Syrian president Bashar al Assad, she said.
"By blocking the extension of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, Russia has once again demonstrated it does not care about stopping the barbaric use of chemical weapons in the world and will do whatever it takes to protect its ally, the Assad regime," Sanders alleged.
Blocking the extension of the investigating authority means nothing less than Russia's endorsement of the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons against innocent women and children. "We will continue to push back against this," Sanders said.
At the UN headquarters in New York, the Security Council rejected the draft resolution following a vote of 11 in favour to two against (Bolivia, Russian Federation), with two abstaining (China, Kazakhstan).
Had it been adopted, it would have extended the mechanism's mandate established by resolution 2235 (2015) and set to expire on 17 November for one more year. Vassily A Nebenzia, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN, suggested that adjourning the meeting until 7 November and discussing an extension without undue pressure.
He said that the Russian Federation expected an honest, impartial, complete investigation, and would accept clear, incontrovertible evidence of guilt. The US had already determined who was guilty, and its actions were politicising the issue, he alleged.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Russia has once again demonstrated it will do whatever it takes to ensure the "barbaric" Assad regime never faces consequences for its continued use of chemicals as weapons.
"By rejecting the renewal of the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) an independent, purely technical body Russia has made it clear that it does not care about stopping the use of chemical weapons in the world," she said.
"This is the ninth time Russia has protected Assad and his team of murderers by blocking the Security Council from acting. In doing so, Russia once again sides with the dictators and terrorists who use these weapons," Haley said.
British Permanent Representative to the UN Matthew Rycroft described Russia's use of veto power as a "sad day". "It's a sad day for the Security Council when Russia vetoes a simple technical, procedural rollover, of the mandate of an absolutely crucial part of the international communitys architecture to help tackle the appalling use of chemical weapons," he said.
The Syrian regime that they support must have something to hide, and I wonder why Russia continues to defend the indefensible, he said and hoped that Russia will realise that they are isolated on this issue.
"They are seeking to defend the indefensible. And beyond that, they have a particular responsibility as a permanent member of the Security Council with a close relationship with the Syrian regime. They have taken it upon themselves to lead the international community's efforts to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons," he said.
"That job is not complete, and I call on Russia to listen to what we all said today and to step up to meet those responsibilities," the British Ambassador said.
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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2017 11:03:52 IST