Friday, 20 April, 2018

Chemical Weapons Warfare Has Plagued Syria For Years

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya talks before a vote during a Security Council meeting Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya talks before a vote during a Security Council meeting
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 05:21

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is urging the Security Council to adopt a resolution that condemns the reported chemical weapons attack in Syria over the weekend and would re-establish a U.N. investigative body to determine whether chemical weapons were used.

Only three countries - Russia, China and Bolivia - voted in favor of the resolution at the end of an emergency meeting of the 15-member council called by Russia on Saturday.

Moving to return to diplomacy, France said it was working with the United States and Britain on a draft resolution that would address chemical weapons use, the humanitarian crisis and the future of the peace process in Syria.

Russian Federation and the United States tangled on Tuesday at the United Nations over the use of chemical weapons in Syria as Washington and its allies considered whether to strike at president Bashar al-Assad's forces over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that President Donald Trump has yet to decide on whether he will pursue military action in Syria.

Russian Federation tabled a second draft resolution for vote on Tuesday for an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the watchdog of the Chemical Weapons Convention, into the chemical attack allegations.

"If there is a claim about the use of chemical weapons, we want this issue to be legally investigated", Hossein Jaberi Ansari, a senior aide in Iran's foreign ministry, said after the meeting according to state news agency IRNA.

Haley said the Russian draft would have allowed Russia to choose the investigators and assess the outcome of the investigation. May "on the need to take action and deter the further use of chemical weapons".

In the late vote, five countries voted in favour, four voted against and six abstained.

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It added that it was "vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, and on the need to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime" and that both agreed to "keep working closely together on the global response".

HALEY: Assad's most recent use of poison gas against the people of Duma was not his first, second, third or even 49th use of chemical weapons.

UN Security Council was temporarily suspended for consultations on the document to deploy OPCW mission to Syria's Douma.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said after the vote.

Moscow opposes any Western strike on its close ally Assad and has vetoed Security Council action on Syria 12 times since the conflict started.

"A perfectly executed strike last night".

"The United Kingdom, France, and the United States acted, not as revenge, not as punishment, not as a symbolic show of force", she said.

The OPCW said it would "shortly" deploy a fact-finding team to Douma for an investigation, but U.S. officials said they were working from their own information and would not necessarily hold back.

In a notice posted to Eurocontrol's website, EASA said: "Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken".

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