U.S. requests United Nations vote on Syria chemical inquiry

Russia US envoys to UN

Russia US envoys to UN

Russian Federation on Tuesday vetoed a US-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution that would have set up an investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria following an alleged toxic gas attack in rebel-held Douma.

"Today, I called the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council to reiterate my deep concern about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiraling out of control", he said, referring to the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain. Russia vetoed a USA text, while two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get a minimum nine votes to pass.

She said the US text was "the bare minimum" that the Security Council could do to respond to the chemical attack reports.

The council failed on Tuesday to approve three draft resolutions on chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Russian Federation vetoed a Western-backed resolution in November that would have extended the mandate of the joint UN-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons body that had blamed the Syrian government and the Islamic State extremist group for using chemical weapons.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: In another diplomatic showdown in the U.N. Security Council, Russia's ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, called an emergency meeting that seemed aimed at one thing - to head off US military strikes, which he says would violate the U.N. charter and put Russian troops in harm's way. Syria signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, agreeing to remove its chemical weapons.

Syria rejected the accusations as "chemical fabrications" made by the foreign-backed terrorists in the country in a bid to halt advances by pro-government forces.

"We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", President Trump said in announcing the strikes from the White House.

Any countries that carry out a strike on Syria over the chemical weapons attack could also defend their action under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which covers an individual or collective right to self-defense against armed attack.

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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.

Nebenzia warned against any US military action, saying that armed force "under mendacious pretext" and with Russian troops in Syria, "could lead to grave repercussions".

The U.N. body was briefed by the Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Thomas Markram and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura ahead of the open hearing.

On Monday, the Republican leader promised that the "heinous attack on innocent Syrians with banned chemical weapons" would be "met forcefully".

Trump said that he would make a decision about how to respond within a few days, adding that the United States had "a lot of options militarily" on Syria.

"Not a single resident was able to confirm a chemical attack took place", he argued, saying that the US, UK and France hadn't bothered to wait for an investigation and instead had rushed to judgment "in a sign of cynical disdain a group of western countries". Activists and doctors in rebel-held areas said the six-car United Nations convoy was scheduled to visit the scene of strikes in the eastern Ghouta suburbs.

"Empty words, feeble condemnations, and a Security Council paralyzed by the use of the veto".

Haley spoke in vivid detail about the attack, but said she wouldn't bother to hold up photos of the children murdered on Saturday, as she has before, because, "What would be the point?"

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