Russia Blocks U.N. Move to Revive Syria Chemical Weapons Inquiry

Russia blocked an American-sponsored United Nations Security Council settlement on Tuesday that would expand the life of a panel investigating who has devoted chemical weapons offensively in the Syria war, in a session interrupted by Cold War-era acrimony.

The result undermined one of the fewer areas of international cooperation in searching accountability for barbarity committed in the Syria war and cast fresh confusion on whether users of chemical weapons in the combat will always be held to account. The use of such weapons is a war crime.

Both sides blamed each other of bitterness and fraud in acidic exchanges before and after the vote on the settlement, which was rejected by Russia utilizing its power as a stable Security Council member.

It was the 9th time Russia had exercised its veto at the Security Council to block a settlement concerning the approximately seven-year-old combat in Syria. Russia is the Syrian government’s most essential ally.

The Russians had quarreled that a vote for a one-year delay of the panel, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism, should not be held until after its report, due Thursday, on who was liable for a deadly sarin nerve agent attack on April 4 in the northern Syrian village of Khan Sheikhoun, which is held by radical.

The United States, Britain, and France have said the air force of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria carried out that attack. President Trump ordered a missile collide on the Syrian airfield where the Americans said the attack had introduced, infuriating Russia and Syria.

Russia and Syria originally said that the sarin attack might have been assembled, then suggested that radicals on the ground were responsible. The collective Investigative Mechanism’s conclusions are not yet known, but there is no conflict that sarin was utilized.

Because the panel’s authorization does not expire until Nov. 16, Russia’s ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said there was still the quantity of time to assess the advantages of revival after the Khan Sheikhoun report is released.

Western members of the Security Council, led by the United States, said Russia already had signaled that it would debate the panel’s continued existence if the report found the Syrian government liable.

The base for the clash at the Security Council started last week when the United States ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, circulated a draft settlement to have a rapid vote on renewing the panel’s authorization.

Mr. Nebenzia said the Americans had known that Russia would search to an extension the vote and had plotted to force a veto to cause Russian embarrassment.

“Let’s not pretend we don’t explain what taking place here is,” Mr. Nebenzia told the council on Tuesday soon before the vote was held. “It’s calculated, once again, to display up and dishonor Russia.”

He said the sequence of events famous up to the vote “was not very amiable — it stinks, in fact.”

Ms. Haley did not visit the vote because she was traveling in Africa. Michele J. Sison, the deputy American permanent representative, said confusions about the panel’s longevity had already curved work on its other investigations of chemical weapons use in Syria, and “we need this vote to take place today.”

Eleven nations voted in favor, Russia and Bolivia disputed it, and China and Kazakhstan abstained. Russia’s no-vote no doubt doomed the resolution.

Ms. Haley released a statement saying: “Russia has once again exhibited it will do whatever it takes to assure the barbaric Assad regime never faces consequences for its extended use of chemicals as weapons.”

By blocking the vote to renew the investigative panel, Ms. Haley said, “Russia has built it clear that it does not care about staying the use of chemical weapons in the world.”

The outcome does not naturally threaten the panel’s continued existence. But without a new Security Council resolution to continue its authorization beyond mid-November, the panel will desist functioning in roughly three weeks.

Russian confusions about the panel’s objectivity first surfaced last year when it achieved that Syrian government forces had been responsible for at least three chlorine-bomb attacks in Syria.

The Russians had contended that the panel’s techniques were faulty. They also queried how it could produce an objective report on the Khan Sheikhoun offensive because its investigators had never visited the village, in a rebel-held neighborhood of northern Idlib Province.

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