A Tuesday meeting of the U.N. Security Council over Syria turned into a battle between Russia and the United States. They each blocked attempts by the other to set up international investigations into chemical weapons attacks that reportedly took place over the weekend in Syria.
Reuters reports: Russia vetoed a U.S.-drafted resolution to create a new inquiry to ascertain blame for such attacks. The United States and other countries then blocked a rival Russian bid to set up a different probe that would require the Security Council to attribute responsibility.
Moscow opposes any Western strike on its close ally Assad. Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Washington’s decision to put forward its resolution could be a prelude to a Western strike on Syria.
“The United States is again trying to mislead the international community and is making yet one more step toward confrontation,” Nebenzia told the 15-member Security Council. “It is clear that the provocation step has nothing to do with a desire to investigate what happened.”
Reuters continues: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council that adopting the U.S.-drafted resolution was the least that member nations could do.
“History will record that, on this day, Russia chose to protect a monster over the lives of the Syrian people,” Haley said, referring to [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad].
Twelve council members voted in favor of the U.S.-drafted resolution.
Bolivia joined Russia in voting no, while China abstained from voting.
A resolution must have nine votes in favor to pass, and there must be no vetoes by Russia, China, France, Britain or the United States.
The United States has joined with other Western powers in considering military action after the suspected poison gas attack on Saturday in the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma, which had resited Assad’s forces for some time.
New reports say at least 60 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in Saturday’s suspected attack, according to a Syrian relief group. Doctors and witnesses say the victims had symptoms of poisoning and reported smelling chlorine gas.
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