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3 UNSC resolutions on Syria fail; investigators on way

IANS  |  United Nations 

Three resolutions on investigating the alleged in a rebel-held area of failed in the on Tuesday amid reports that the US was preparing to attack facilities of the government of

US has cancelled a trip to the Summit of the in Peru's Lima, citing the Syrian developments and on Tuesday conferred with and defence officials.

He also discussed with British the preparation for a strike on the Syrian government, which it blames for the

Even as the wrangled over a resolution to confer the Council's authority on the probe, the Organisation for the Prohibition of (OPCW) announced it was sending a fact-finding mission to Douma, where the is said to have taken place.

On Monday, and had told the Council that they were inviting the OPCW to send investigators and they would provide them protection and facilities.

Last Saturday a was reported to have taken place in Douma, where the group controls territory. The US says 89 people were killed and several hundred injured by used there.

The rival resolutions that paralysed the had small differences that and the West hoped to score points with rather than act on

vetoed the first resolution sponsored by the US and its supporters calling for an independent investigative mechanism into the use of chemical weapons, after it got 12 votes for, two against and an abstention by

The next two offered by Russia failed to get a majority, avoiding the need for a Western veto.

The first Russian resolution also called for the creation of the independent investigation mechanism, but would have required it to take into account the OPCW data as well as information provided by the on the organisations, which met with Western objections.

It received six votes, seven voted against it and two abstained.

Condemning Moscow's veto, US Permanent said, "History will record that, on this day, Russia chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people."

After a break for consultations to try for a compromise, Russia introduced another resolution similar to its previous one, except that it did not include the independent investigation mechanism proposal.

Five countries voted for it, four against it and six abstained.

supported both the Russian resolutions.

Since the two Russian resolutions did not get a majority, none of the Western permanent members -- the US, or Britain had to veto them.

After vetoing the US resolution, Russia's Permanent said it would have recreated the joint investigative mechanism that lapsed in November 2017, because of a veto and a similar new body would take a long time to become active.

He accused the US of introducing the resolution knowing it would not pass so they could use it as a pretext to attack Syria.

Later, Nebenzia, addressing Haley directly, said, "I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you are currently developing for Syria."

While Haley had insisted on an independent investigation mechanism in addition to the OPCW fact-finding mechanism, State Department praised the Hague-based organisation that won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2013.

"They're the gold standard in collecting this type of information (about use), and we would certainly rely upon them, as we have in other instances, to take a look at that," she said.

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First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 09:14 IST