Russia blocks UN resolution on Syria as US military action looms large

"They're the gold standard in collecting this type of information (about chemical weapons use), and we would certainly rely upon them, as we have in other instances, to take a look at that", she said.

The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Russian resolution that would have created a new expert body to determine responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

She said the United States "went the extra mile" to get Russian support for the resolution to ensure that a new investigative body would be impartial, independent and professional - provisions she said were not in the rival Russian resolution.

The council voted two more times on draft texts put forward by Russian Federation, but both measures failed to garner the 9 votes required for adoption, laying bare divisions at the top United Nations body over Syria. Bolivia also voted against the USA text.

As the showdown between Russian Federation and the United States got underway, Moscow's Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of "planting this resolution" as a "pretext" to justify action against Syria and "taking yet one more step toward confrontation".

Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia expressed disappointment at the outcome, arguing that the Russian text was a "repetition" of a Swedish document that was circulated on Monday among council members.

He asked Washington to "come to senses" and warned that it will have to bear responsibility if it attacks Syria.

Last year, the United States launched missile strikes against a Syrian airbase from two navy destroyers after the Syrian Government was alleged to have used chemical weapons, leading to civilian fatalities.

Nebenzia accused the United States of trying to mislead the worldwide community and said it is "taking one more step toward confrontation". "It is clear that the provocation. has nothing to do with a desire to investigate what happened in Douma".

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The next two offered by Russian Federation failed to get a majority, avoiding the need for a Western veto.

"We are using the veto in order to protect worldwide rule of law, peace and security, to make sure that you do not drag the Security Council into your adventures", Nebenzia said. Seven members voted against and two abstained.

"Whenever we propose anything meaningful on Syria, Russia vetoes it".

Sweden's ambassador, Olof Skoog, who tried unsuccessfully to find a compromise solution, told the council after the third vote that he was disappointed.

Five countries voted for it, four against it and six abstained.

It too failed to pass the threshold of nine. The U.S., Britain and France voted against both measures but didn't have to use their vetoes. The US says 89 people were killed and several hundred injured by chemical weapons used there.

Tuesday's intensive voting came as Security Council members were striving to set up a mechanism to determine which side was accountable for the chemical weapons use in Syria.

The OPCW has said the team of experts will deploy to Syria shortly. The investigation mechanism ended in November 2017 after Russian Federation blocked the renewal of its mandate.

  • Sonia Alvarado