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United Nations braces for likely Russian veto of Syria gas attacks probe

United Nations braces for likely Russian veto of Syria gas attacks probe

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged all members of the U.N. Security Council to back the renewal of the global inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, saying it was needed to prevent President Bashar al-Assad from using the arms, Reuters reports. "The draft text Russian Federation put forward without any negotiation is unhelpful, has no support, and can not be taken seriously".

"Need all on the UN Security Council to vote to renew the Joint Investigative Mechanism for Syria to ensure that Assad Regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again", Trump said in a note on Twitter.

The JIM's leaders said they were "confident" that Syria's government was responsible for an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 using sarin that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others who survived "acute exposure" to the nerve agent.

The 15-nation council was due to vote on Thursday on rival US and Russian bids to renew the worldwide inquiry, diplomats said on Wednesday, a move that could trigger Russia's 10th veto to block action on Syria.

Russia, Syria's ally on the Security Council, has put forward its own draft resolution rejecting the findings of the 26-member United Nations panel, a proposal that has little chance of passage.

"We are still hopeful that there will be a solution to a continuation of JIM, maintaining the mandate", Olof Skoog, the Swedish ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters on Wednesday.

The Security Council is set to vote on dueling proposals from the USA and Russian Federation on how to proceed with their investigation into the chemical attacks in Syria. "Russian Federation has undermined our ability to deter future attacks", Haley said, accusing Moscow of "playing games" with the council's attempt to renew the chemical weapons investigation.

"We are engaging with them", he said.

Turkey, Russia and Iran are sponsoring peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana and also implementing a plan for de-escalation zones in key flashpoint areas of Syria.

While Russia agreed to the 2015 creation of the JIM, it has consistently questioned its findings, which also concluded that the Syrian government used chlorine as a weapon several times.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Russian Federation and the United States.


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