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US, France, Britain launch new UN bid for Syria chemical weapons probe

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listens during a UN Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on April 14, 2018.

The United States, France and Britain on Saturday launched a new bid at the UN Security Council to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria, just hours after firing military strikes against Syrian targets.

The three allies circulated a joint draft resolution that also calls for unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid in Syria and demands that Syria engage in UN-led peace talks, according to the text obtained by AFP. 

The move signaled the West’s resolve to return to diplomacy after a one-night military operation that hit sites Western officials said were linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program.

Among the contentious proposals, the draft resolution would establish an independent investigation of allegations of chemical attacks in Syria with the aim of identifying the perpetrators.

Russia in November used its veto three times to bury a previous UN-led inquiry which found that Syrian forces had used sarin in the attack on Khan Sheikhun in April last year.

The measure would instruct the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to report within 30 days on whether Syria has fully disclosed its chemical weapons stockpile. 

Commitment to scrap its chemical weapons 

The West has accused Syria of failing to live up to its commitment to scrap its chemical weapons program, under a deal reached between the United States and Russia.

The Security Council held an emergency meeting earlier at the request of Russia, which failed in a bid to condemn the air strikes.

Only China and Bolivia voted alongside Russia in favor of its draft resolution condemning the military action, while eight countries opposed it. Four countries abstained.

Addressing the council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States was confident that the military strikes had crippled Syria’s chemical weapons program.

Haley warned that the United States was “locked and loaded” if any new chemical attack was carried out in Syria.

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Last Update: Sunday, 15 April 2018 KSA 02:28 - GMT 23:28
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