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Russia vetoes US-initiated UN SC draft resolution on Syria, withdraws its own

November 17, 0:48 UTC+3

Along with Russia, Bolivia voted against the US draft while China and Egypt abstained

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UNITED NATIONS, November 17. /TASS/. Russia has vetoed the US-initiated draft resolution of the United Nations Security Council on extending the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Syria.

The US draft got enough votes to be passed and Russia used its right to veto. Along with Russia, Bolivia voted against the US draft while China and Egypt abstained.

Before the voting, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said Russia was withdrawing its draft as the Security Council had refused to satisfy Moscow’s request to consider the US draft first.

In reply to Russia’s request, US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley argued that a draft submitted to the Security Council first is to be the first to vote on. Ultimately, it was decided to conduct a procedural voting, with the United States and its allies winning the upper hand. "In such circumstance, my proposal is to withdraw the resolution initiated by Russia," Nebenzya said.

The mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism expires on November 17. In late October, the JIM issued yet another reoport, a seventh in a row, to blame the April 4, 2017 sarin attack in Khan Sheikhun on the Syrian authorities and the September 16, 2016 attack involving the use of mustard gas in Maarat Umm Khawsh on militants of the terrorist group Islamic State (outlawed in Russia). Two days prior to that, Russia vetoed a non-agreed draft resolution extending the JIM’s mandate and later made public its opinion of the investigators’ report, saying it was "amateurish" and its conclusions were based on "a laymen’s methodology."

On November 2, Russia and the United States submitted to the UN Security Council mutually exclusive draft resolutions on extending the JIM’s mandate. The two documents had different timeframe - the Russian draft extended the mandate until May 16, 2018, while the US version gave the mission 24 months since the adoption of the resolution. Whereas the Russian draft provided for improvement of the JIM’s work, the US insisted to leave things as they were. Later, the United States reviewed its draft to include some of the provisions from the Russian document. Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US draft "has no chances to be passed.".

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