United States and Russia clash at UN over Syria chlorine attacks

UNITED NATIONS: Russia and the United States clashed on Monday at United Nations Security Council over the allegations that the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad has once again used the chemical in attacks in Syria that have left many wounded, including children.

Nikki Haley, United States ambassador to United Nations told the council that there was “obvious evidence from dozens of victims” to confirm the chlorine attacks in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.
“Now we have reports that the Assad regime has used chlorine gas against its people multiple times in recent weeks, including just yesterday,” Haley said.

Council adopted a statement which was proposed by the United States denouncing the chlorine attack in the town of Douma on February 1, that injured more than 20 people including children, according to the draft seen by AFP.

In a reply, Russia accused the United States of carrying  “propaganda campaign” falsely accusing President Bashar al-Asad of recent chemical attacks.

The permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia said,  “It’s completely clear to us the goal is to basically accuse the Syrian government of chemical weapons use where no perpetrators have been identified.”

Russia proposed an amended draft statement that made no mention of the attacks in Eastern Ghouta and said that the reports to be professionally investigated,”  according to the text seen by AFP, however, United States refused the modifications and no statement was adopted, diplomats said.

Haley further slammed Russia for being hesitant at a statement that she described as a “simple condemnation of Syrian children being suffocated by chlorine gas.”

Moreover, the United States-drafted statement expressed concern over three reported chemical attacks in Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks and said the accused of using the chemical weapon must be held accountable.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement, “By shielding the Syrian regime from accountability, Russia has not lived up to its commitments.”

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