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Russia blocks UN draft on Syria, cites ‘Western bias’
November 19, 2017, 9:42 am

Russia has vetoes 11 draft resolutions on Syria which it says are unfair and biased, often following “fabricated” evidence [Xinhua]

Russia has for the second time this week vetoed a draft resolution in the Security Council aimed at renewing the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), which investigates chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The vetoed drafted presented by Japan to the Security Council on Saturday was designed to give JIM a temporary extension to continue its work.

It was a compromise draft that was meant to bridge differences between Russia and the US after Moscow vetoed a resolution on JIM on Friday.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily A. Nebenzia said that Moscow could not support extending JIM’s mandate because it had been biased and largely implementing an anti-Syria agenda imposed by Western countries.

“There can be no other way after the JIM’s [the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism] leadership disgraced itself with its fictitious investigation into the sarin use incident in Khan Shaykhun and signed off on baseless accusations against Syria,” he said.

In a September (and again in October) report, JIM had accused Syria and Russia of using chemical weapons against civilian centers in the city of Khan Shaykun last April.

Moscow had then accused the group of fabricating events; both Damascus and Moscow denied being involved in a chemical weapons attack and instead blamed Islamist extremist rebel groups for storing such armaments in civilian areas.

But JIM has generally blamed both sides for the use of illicit weapons during the seven-year Syrian civil war.

Bolivia also voted against the Japanese draft resolution, while China abstained.

The Russian veto sparked criticism from US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley: “In a world in which the council’s time and attention could be productively devoted to 100 different things, Russia is wasting our time,” Ambassador Nikki R. Haley of the United States said after Russia’s latest veto was cast.”

“Russia can obstruct this council but it can’t obstruct the truth.”

Yet Russian officials maintain that JIM has been plagued with “systemic deficiences” and that it’s methods of operations and gathering evidence are flawed.

It warned that the mechanism needed significant and comprehensive overhaul in order to be a legitimate UN apparatus for fact-finding.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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