U.S. wants United Nations vote on Tuesday on Syria gas attack inquiry

U.S. wants United Nations vote on Tuesday on Syria gas attack inquiry

Washington bombed a Syrian government air base past year over a toxic gas attack.

"This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped - not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we can not allow the erosion of the worldwide norm that prevents the use of these weapons".

The US, UK and France have launched military strikes on Syria following the suspected chemical attack by the Assad regime.

The US, Britain and France opposed the measure, saying that the investigators are already headed there and that the text did not include a new way to assess blame for chemical attacks.

In a statement, Mrs May said: "The Syrian regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way".

At the council meeting, Nebenzia warned that a U.S. military strike against Syria could have "grave repercussions" and stressed that the use of chlorine or sarin had not been confirmed in the attack. Russia vetoed a US text, while two Russian-drafted resolutions failed to get the minimum nine votes required for approval.

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

Russian Federation proposed its own draft resolution in January to create a new investigation.

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

Trump has not yet made 'final decision' on Syria: WH
The Defense Department says a review is still underway when it comes to culpability for the suspected chemical weapons attack. Asked about the risks of USA military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.

"History will record that, on this day, Russian Federation chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people", Haley was quoted, as saying, while referring to Syrian President Assad.

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

In response to Haley's push for a vote on Tuesday, Nebenzia told the council behind closed doors that he, too, could put his draft to a vote.

The rival Russian resolutions - on a new accountability body and the OPCW fact-finding mission - both failed to get the required nine "yes" votes needed for adoption.

In closed-door discussions that followed, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said she planned to put the draft resolution to a vote on Tuesday, said diplomats, who requested anonymity.

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

Mr Nebenzia and Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said that despite the council's failure to welcome the OPCW fact-finding mission, its investigators are heading to Syria with support from both Russian Federation and Syria.

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

"We are confident that we have crippled Syria's chemical weapons program".

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