Wednesday 20th of March 2019 |
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Moscow to Propose U.N. Resolution to Probe Alleged Syria Chemical Attack




Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said Moscow will propose a U.N. resolution to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria, after Russia rejected a similar move from the United States.
The rival proposals from Moscow and Washington put the Security Council on course for a clash that could trigger vetoes of both measures.
Lavrov said Russia would propose a "transparent and honest" investigation with the involvement of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the Security Council on Tuesday.
Russian-backed Syrian regime forces could ensure the safety of OPCW experts if they were to travel to the scene, he added, criticizing previous investigations for having been conducted from a distance. 
A Russian proposal at the start of the year was rejected by Western powers, who said it would give the Syrian government an upper hand over investigations on its territory.
"If, under the pretext of a lack of security guarantees, those who employ anti-Russian arguments to pursue their Russophobic aims do not allow experts to come, then it will be a verdict on their true plans and show that they have no interest in establishing the truth," Lavrov said.
Washington put forward a draft resolution Monday following alleged toxic gas use in the rebel-held town of Douma that killed at least 40 people and prompted President Donald Trump to indicate that a decision could be taken imminently on U.S. military action.
Moscow has insisted there is no evidence for a chemical attack.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told Security Council diplomats that the United States wanted a vote on the measure, but Russia said it contained "some unacceptable elements."
A Security Council diplomat earlier said the U.S. was pushing for a vote on the resolution by Tuesday, but no vote had been formally requested by late Monday.

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