Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump urges United Nations council to renew Syria chemical arms inquiry

Trump urges United Nations council to renew Syria chemical arms inquiry

If the Security Council can not agree on a renewal, its mandate will expire at midnight Thursday.

The United States and Russian Federation are on a collision course ahead of a United Nations Security Council vote to determine the fate of an ongoing investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"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.

United Nations diplomats said they were expecting a Russian veto of the U.S. text during the council meeting scheduled for 3:00 pm (2000 GMT).

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's deputy ambassador to the U.N., Vladimir Safronkov, dismissed the JIM's findings about Khan Sheikhoun as "mythical or invented", asking how Syria could be blamed since investigators never visited the town or the air base where the sarin attack was claimed to have been launched.

When the JIM report was discussed in the council on November 7, Russian Federation clashed with the USA and other Western nations over its findings.

A resolution requires nine votes to be adopted at the council, but five countries - Russia, Britain, China, France and the United States - can block adoption with their veto power. Russian Federation has since proposed a rival draft resolution to renew the JIM and correct its "systemic errors".

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

If the inquiry is not renewed, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Monday: "It may send a bad signal, but the way the investigation has been conducted sends an even worse signal".

A joint report from the United Nations and global chemical weapons inspectors last month determined the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack.

Previous reports by the JIM have found that Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine attacks on three villages in 2014 and 2015, and that the Islamic State (IS) militant group used mustard gas in 2015.

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