Derechos | Equipo Nizkor
Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution Condemning Syria Chemical Attack
The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, signaled on Wednesday morning that the Trump administration wanted to work with Russia to end the war in Syria. A few hours later, Ms. Haley drew a line in the diplomatic sand, forcing Russia to use its veto for an eighth time on a Syria resolution in the United Nations Security Council.
The United States, France and Britain had sponsored a draft resolution that would have strengthened the ability of international investigators to look into the details of a chemical attack in Syria on April 4. The resolution won 10 votes, but Russia vetoed it. China abstained.
After the vote, Ms. Haley said she regretted that Russia had chosen to use its veto power for the eighth time to back the Syrian government. "By its failure Russia will continue to be isolated," she said.
The measure condemned the chemical weapons attack, urged international investigators who were already authorized by the Security Council to look into it, and specifically reminded the Syrian government to cooperate, including by turning over all flight logs, flight plans and the names of commanders in charge of air operations on the day of the strike.
Russia objected to the draft when it was first brought up last week, and on Wednesday it dismissed the resolution as a political tool. Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said his government wanted what it called "an honest investigation." Russia drafted an alternate resolution but did not put it up for a vote.
The Russian deputy ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, testily said that the resolution had "an anti-Syrian slant."
Ms. Haley pointed out that the resolution simply reiterated what the Syrian government was already obliged to do.
A fact-finding team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has already been assigned to look into whether chemical weapons were used in Syria. A separate team has been authorized by the Security Council to determine who is using those weapons, banned by international law, and concluded that the Syrian government has used banned chemical weapons; Russia criticized that conclusion.
The United States dismissed a compromise measure that several other countries on the council had tried to advance last week. It left out the specific reminder to the Syrian government to turn over flight logs. The United States and its two major Western allies, Britain and France, insisted on that specific language.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ms. Haley struck a different tone. Speaking at another briefing at the Security Council while Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson was meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Ms. Haley reserved her sharpest barbs for Iran, which she accused of using the Syrian war to expand its own influence in the region, and she urged Russia to "stop covering for Assad," referring to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
"We are ready to throw our weight and resources behind diplomacy," Ms. Haley said. She did not offer any details.
The United Nations envoy in charge of mediating Syria talks, Staffan de Mistura, said on Wednesday that the next round could begin in May, without offering a precise date.
[Source: By Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, United Nations, 12Apr17]
|This document has been published on 14Apr17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.|