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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, China Veto UN Sanctions Resolution on Syria

By VOA News February 28, 2017

Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations resolution that would have placed sanctions on Syria in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks.

The measure, backed by the Western powers of Britain, France and the United States, would have imposed sanctions on 21 Syrians, organizations and companies that were allegedly involved in chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015.

The resolution would have also banned all countries from supplying the Syrian government with helicopters, which were used in the attacks.

The measure was drafted after a joint investigation by the U.N. and a global chemical weapons watchdog determined the Syrian government carried out at least three attacks involving chlorine gas. The groups also found that the Islamic State extremist group was behind at least one attack involving the use of mustard gas.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that imposing sanctions on Syria during the U.N.-led peace negotiations in Geneva would be "completely inappropriate" and thwart efforts to end the six-year conflict.

After the vote, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told council members the resolution was "very appropriate," and added, "It is a sad day on the Security Council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people."

"The world is definitely a more dangerous place," Haley said.

The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons in the war that has claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people.

The vote was one of the first showdowns at the U.N. between Russia and the U.S. since President Donald Trump took office in January and vowed to strengthen relations with Moscow.

Nine members of the U.N. Security Council voted in favor of the measure. Bolivia voted against the resolution, while Egypt Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained. A resolution requires nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.

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