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Geneva talks unaffected by UN Security Council vote on Syria — French envoy

March 01, 2017, 2:34 UTC+3 UN

"The short answer is no," Francois Delattre said when asked whether a debate on fresh sanctions against the Damascus government may damage the ongoing peace talks

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Syrian reconciliation talks in Geneva

Syrian reconciliation talks in Geneva


UN, March 1. /TASS/. The Syrian reconciliation talks in Geneva will not be affected by the UN Security Council vote, because the peace process has already stalled, France’s UN envoy said.

"The short answer is no," Francois Delattre said when asked whether a UN Security Council debate on another round of sanctions against the Damascus government may damage the ongoing peace talks.

"First of all, because, as we are all aware the Syrian regime has not moved an inch during the Geneva discussions. Second, because if anything hinders the Syrian reconciliation, it is the verified use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its population, not the resulting sanctions. Let’s be logical here," he went on.

"Third, what would be detrimental to the credibility of the Geneva process is that the Syrian regime and Daesh enjoy impunity to the repeated use of chemical weapons, as again confirmed by neutral bodies mandated by the Security Council," the ambassador added.

Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over chemical attacks allegedly carried out by Damascus. The document, initiated by the UK, the US and France, scored nine votes, the required minimum for passing a document. So, Russia and China had to use their right to veto.

The draft envisaged a ban on supplies of all types of helicopters to the Syrian government, army and government structures. As a reason for such sanctions, the document cited conclusions of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, which blamed Damascus for three chemical attacks, in which containers presumably containing chlorine were dropped from military helicopters. Russia and China said these conclusions were not convincing.

The draft also envisaged sanctions against a number of Syrian officials and government structures allegedly involved in the chemical attacks and production of poisonous agents.

Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said after the voting that the initiators of the draft have deliberately embarked on a course of confrontation, and Russia had "no other choice" but to veto the document.

"Despite our consistent appeals, the authors chose a politically motivated path, leading to confrontation and adding complexity to the situation, including on our Security Council platform," the diplomat said. "They opted for deliberately heating up tensions, being well aware from the very start that this initiative has no chances of being approved at the Security Council."

It was the seventh draft resolution on Syria vetoed by Russia since the civil conflict in the Middle Eastern country broke out in 2011.

According to diplomatic sources, Russia prepared an alternative resolution on the use of chemical weapons in Syria in January.

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