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UN Security Council rejects Russia’s proposal to reschedule vote on Syria

Russia's permanent representative to the UN said the current resolution would disrupt the Council's integrity

UN, October 24. /TASS/. The UN Security Council rejected Russia’s proposal to reschedule the vote on the draft resolution to extend the investigation into chemical attacks in Syria for November 7. 

Four countries backed Russia’s initiative, including China and Bolivia, whereas eight, including the UK, the US and France, voted against.

The proposal was voiced by Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya, who warned that Russia will not allow the uncoordinated resolution's adoption.

"You disrupt the Council’s integrity by introducing the resolution now," the diplomat admonished.

Before the voting started, Russia asked to postpone discussion of the matter till November 7 to see the mission’s report on the probe into the Khan Sheykhun incident

Addressing the UN Security Council meeting, Vasily Nebenzya said that there is "no logic" in the United States’ insistence to extend the OPCW-UN mission’s mandate and called to take a "well-balanced" decision after the report is issued. He said the non-agreed draft resolution was put for voting with the only goal of "demonizing Russia" as it would be forced to veto the document. "Let us not pretend we don’t understand what is going on here," he stressed.

"What is going on today smells bad," Nebenzya said. He drew attention to the extensive propaganda campaign in the Western media ahead of the Security Council voting, including to the interview US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. According to the Russian diplomat, Haley deliberately distorted Moscow’s position. "What can it be called? It is called preparatory bombardment," he stressed.

The mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism expires in November. The mission is expected to issue its report on October 26. One of the previous such reports placed responsibility for three chemical attacks on the Syrian government army and the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) was held reposnsible for one such attack. The Russian foreign ministry said earlier that possible extension of the Mechanism’s mandate would depend on whether it would be able to conduct a proper probe into the Khan Shaykhun incident.

The OPCW report published on June 29 said that sarin or a similar nerve agent was sprayed in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun on April 4. As a result, nearly 100 people, many of them children, were killed. According to the Russia’s Defense Ministry, the Syrian aircraft struck terrorists’ workshops producing chemical warfare agents in Khan Shaykun. Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons, after which the US Navy delivered a missile strike in the small hours of April 7 on Syria's Shayrat military airfield in the province of Homs.

Last week, director of the Russian foreign ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, Mikhail Ulyanov, said that Russian tends to think that the Khan Shaykhun incident was a stunt attack.