In a tit for tat vote in the United Nations Security Council, Russia has vetoed a US-draft resolution to establish an investigative mechanism that would assert responsibility for alleged chemical attacks in Syria.
In a second vote, on a separate Russian draft resolution that would establish a similar mechanism but require the Council itself to attribute responsibility, only six countries voted in favour in a process that required a minimum of nine votes to pass without any vetoes.
The lack of progress in the council has left the door open to the United States and its allies taking military action over a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria’s town of Douma over the weekend.
The US draft went first, achieving 12 votes in favour including all three African members of the Council.
Bolivia and Russia voted no, Moscow’s 12th veto on Syria, while China abstained.
The Russian draft was voted on with six in favour, seven against and two abstentions; not enough votes in favour to activate other vetoes.
African countries also joined others in expressing their frustration at the Council’s inability to act.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has nonetheless indicated that they are sending a team to Syria to investigate reports of the attack although it does not have a mandate to apportion blame.
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