UNSC to vote on Syria chem 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 worldwide inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, saying it was needed to prevent President Bashar al-Assad from using the arms, Reuters reports.

Russian Federation has vetoed nine resolutions on Syria since the conflict started in 2011, including blocking an initial United States bid on October 24 to renew the JIM, saying it wanted to wait for the release two days later of the inquiry's report that blamed a sarin gas attack on the Syrian regime.

The vote is scheduled for 2000 GMT, just hours before the mandate of the so-called JIM expires at midnight.

Russian Federation and the US have failed to resolve a dispute over extending the mandate of a UN-backed investigative team that blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces for a chemical weapons attack in April that killed more than 80 people.

Russia, Syria's most important ally, has been seeking changes in the way the JIM operates.

"The Assad regime should be on clear notice - the United States does not accept Syria's use of chemical weapons", she told the council, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The summit at Putin's official residence in Sochi will involve the three "guarantors of the process of political settlement and stability and security that we see now in Syria", Peskov said.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

Russian Federation has sharply criticized the JIM after its latest report blamed the Syrian air force for a sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun that left scores dead. After the council voted on the U.S. draft, Bolivia then requested that the body vote on the Russian text.

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.

"We are of the view that the JIM report, the seventh report, has been established by a flagrant disregard of [the] basic higher standards of the Chemical Convention, UN Security Council resolutions and previous decisions by the ECE executive council", Shulgin said. That averted a US military strike in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council last week that the Washington revised its resolution to include some points in the Russian draft.

  • Tracy Klein