United Nations, March 1: Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons use. The measure drafted by Britain, France and the US won nine votes in favour at the UN Security Council while China, Russia and Bolivia countries opposed it. Also Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Egypt abstained from voting.The defeated resolution was drafted following a joint investigation by the United Nations and the international chemical weapons watchdog that determined the Syrian government was behind at least three attacks involving chlorine gas and the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for at least one involving mustard gas.
“They put their friends in the Assad regime ahead of our global security,” new American envoy Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council after the vote. “They turned away from defenseless men, women and children who died gasping for breath when Assad’s forces dropped their poisonous gas.”
Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said after the vote that Moscow let it be known early on that it was “skeptical” of the JIM’s reports and the “uncorroborated nature of the conclusions.” He stressed that there was “no convincing evidence” to determine who was responsible for using chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, UN resolutions require nine positive votes and no veto to be adopted. It was the seventh time that Syria's top military ally, Russia used its veto power to shield the Damascus regime.
Chlorine's use as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013. A chemical weapon attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds of civilians. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill by burning lungs and drowning victims in body fluids. Council members also pledged to take further measures if chemical weapons were used.