Russian Federation fails in United Nations bid to condemn US-led strikes on Syria

Russian Federation fails in United Nations bid to condemn US-led strikes on Syria

Russian Federation and the United States tangled on Tuesday at the United Nations over the use of chemical weapons in Syria as Washington and its allies considered whether to strike at president Bashar al-Assad's forces over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend.

Haley said the main difference between the US-drafted text and the Russian one is that Russia wanted to choose the investigators and assess the outcome while the U.S. text allows for an independent investigation.

The fresh strikes by the US marked the second time that US President Donald Trump has authorized attacks on Syria.

Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia argued that the attack was staged and said Russian specialists who went to the area took soil samples, "which showed the lack of nerve agent and chlorine-containing substances".

Washington's behavior in light of the situation in Syria and the threats against the country are "not worthy" of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia's envoy to UN, Vassily Nebenzia said.

Moving to return to diplomacy, France said it was working with the United States and Britain on a draft resolution that would address chemical weapons use, the humanitarian crisis and the future of the peace process in Syria.

The resolution condemns "any use of toxic chemicals as weapon in Syria" and contains requests to all parties of the conflict in Syria to immediately provide full access for OPCW experts to the place of incident.

United Nations officials, though, said they could not immediately confirm the attack and deferred to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Assad government and Russian Federation both urged the OPCW to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, a move by the two countries that was apparently aimed at averting any US-led action.

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While Haley focused on themes of Russian obstructionism and American resolve to strike as needed, the British and French ambassadors emphasized an interest in pursuing talks to ease tensions.

"Syria is keen on cooperating with the OPCW to uncover the truth behind the allegations that some Western sides have been advertising to justify their aggressive intentions", Syria's state news agency SANA said.

Global chemical weapons experts are expected to go to Douma to investigate the suspected poison gas attack.

It could be argued a strike is being carried out in support UN Security Council resolutions, as was the case in 1998 when a U.S. and British bombing campaign hit Iraqi weapons research and storage facilities to retaliate for the Iraqi government's refusal to cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors. "We have called for this for seven years", he added.

He claimed back then that the air field had been the origin of a suspected sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's Idlib Province on April 4, 2017.

"An aggression of a sovereign state was carried out, which is on the front line of the fight against terrorism", Nebenzia said.

Delattre, the French ambassador, added that the destruction of Syria's chemical program has to happen in a "verifiable and irreversible" way. "Unfortunately, chemical weapons use to injure and kill innocent Syrian civilians has become all too common".

The State Department says it doesn't know what chemical was used, but says it is confident Syria was responsible.

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