Rivaling US and Russia drafted UNSC resolutions aimed at creating a new inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria have both failed to garner votes at the council.
During the Tuesday session, seven members voted against the Russian-drafted resolution and two abstained, shortly after the US-drafted resolution was vetoed by Russia.
The US drafted resolution proposed to launch a new inquiry to find the sources of the chemical attacks, while the rivaling Russian resolution called for the launching of a probe which would require the UNSC to attribute responsibility.
“History will record that, on this day, Russia chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people,” said US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
“The United States is again trying to mislead the international community and is taking yet one more step toward confrontation,” said Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.
“It is clear that the provocation step has nothing to do with a desire to investigate what happened,” he noted.
“If you made a decision to carry out an illegal military endeavor, we hope that you will come to your senses. You will be responsible for it yourselves,” he added.
“Why do you need the attribution mechanism, if you’ve already named the perpetrators before any investigation?,” he further noted.
An alleged chemical weapons attack hit the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta region in the suburban area near Damascus late on Saturday, reportedly killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 1,000 others.
The Western countries blamed the incident on the Syrian government. Damascus rejected the accusations as “chemical fabrications,” which were made by the terrorists themselves in a bid to halt pro-government forces’ advances.
Damascus said that the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri terrorist group, which has dominant presence in Douma, was repeating the accusations “in order to accuse the Syrian Arab army, in a blatant attempt to hinder the Army’s advance.”
Third UNSC resolution on Syria fails
A second Russian drafted resolution on supporting a fact-finding mission by the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog also failed during the Tuesday season.
After the measures failed, Nebenzia appealed to the US to “refrain” from any action it might be planning to take against Syria.
“The threats you are proffering that you’re stating vis-a-vis Syria should make us seriously worried, all of us, because we could find ourselves on the threshold of some very sad and serious events,” he said to Haley.
“I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you’re currently developing for Syria,” he added.
OPCW heading to Syria’s Douma
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has announced that it will send a fact-finding mission to Syria’s town of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta region to investigate claims of alleged use of chemical weapons there.
“Since the first reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma were issued, the OPCW has been gathering information from all available sources and analyzing it,” said a statement released by the OPCW on Tuesday.
“At the same time, OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu, has considered the deployment of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team in Douma to establish facts surrounding these allegations,” it added.
“Today, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested the Syrian Arab Republic to make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment,” it added.
The OPCW made the announcement following a request by the Syrian government and Russia.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing preparedness to devote all its efforts to cooperate with OPCW experts based on transparency and reliable evidence on Tuesday.
“Syria is ready to provide all necessary assistance to the mission,” read the statement released earlier.
France to target Syrian government’s chemical weapons capabilities
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that his country will target the Syrian government’s chemical weapons capabilities if it decides to take military action over the alleged chemical weapon.
Macron made the announcement following talks with visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, noting that a decision would be “in the coming days”, in conjunction with the US and UK.
“Our decision will not target allies of the regime or attack anyone but rather attack the regime’s chemical capabilities,” he said, adding that he did “not want an escalation.”
Saudis may join military action in Syria
Meanwhile, Salman said that the kingdom may take part in military action in Syria if its allies do so.
“If our alliance with our partners requires it, we will be present,” he said.
Earlier, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that a number of countries were holding consultations on how to respond to a the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, adding that those responsible had to be held accountable.
“Our position is that those responsible have to be held accountable and brought to justice,” he said.