As reported by Censor.NET citing CNN, Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution Wednesday that would have required Syria to cooperate with investigators and face full accountability after a brutal chemical attack in that country.
The resolution, crafted by the United States, United Kingdom and France, was circulated to the 15 member countries of the Security Council on Tuesday. It was supported by 10 countries while Russia and Bolivia voted against. China was among those countries that abstained.
Western ambassadors blasted Russia earlier Wednesday for continuing to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after his alleged use of sarin on a rebel-held area of his country.
However, the Syrian envoy to the U.N. Bashar Ja'afari dismissed as "lies" and "accusations" the notion that his country used "a chemical weapon we do not even possess."
However, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, did not let up on the criticism of Moscow.
"To my colleagues from Russia, you are isolating yourselves from the international community every time one of Assad's planes drop another barrel bomb on civilians and every time Assad tries to starve another community to death," she said.
As her boss Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, was meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia, Haley told the council, "It is long past time for Russia to stop covering for Assad. It is long past time for Russia to push seriously for peace and not continue to be part of the problem."
Ja'afari, the Syrian representative, repeated many arguments in his country's defense that he has stated over the six years of civil war. He said the recent chemical weapons attack was really the act of terrorists and rebels. He also blamed the U.S. for "deciding to repeat the same bloody, theatrical play that it had staged 14 years ago in this council against Iraq. A play entitled 'the lie of the Iraqi WMDs'."
After the session, the Syrian ambassador was asked by CNN to comment on President Donald Trump's remarks in an interview that Assad was "an animal."
"It's really pitiful to hear such irresponsible and provocative statements from the most important leader in the Western world," Ja'afari said. "I feel ashamed, I feel ashamed."
On April 7, U.S. warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase following a chemical airstrike in the province of Idlib blamed on President Assad.
U.S. envoy to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the attack on the Shayrat airfield was "fully justified." Washington threatened Assad with new strikes on military targets in Syria if such a need arises.
At least 80 civilians died in the air attack on the town in rebel-held Idlib province prompting an international outcry. The United States accuses the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of using chlorine gas mixed with a highly toxic sarin-like nerve agent in an air attack. UNICEF confirmed at least 27 children had been killed in the attack in Idlib.
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