Dueling Vetoes Prevent Progress at Security Council Session on Syria
The United Nations Security Council met on Tuesday to discuss the critical situation in Syria but progress was thwarted by Russia and the United States wielding their respective vetoes. With the first resolution of the day, an effort to condemn the chemical attacks in Douma and to empower an investigation by an independent body was killed by the Russian veto, Moscow still insisting that there was no use of chemical weapons at all. US Ambassador Nikki Haley reacted angrily to the Russian move which prevented a clear approval by 12 out of the 15 possible votes, admonishing that the Security Council had “chose a monster over protecting lives of the Syrian people.” Haley had tried in vain to work with the Russians in order to find language that would allow it to support the measure. Despite the efforts at diplomacy, the Russians charged that regardless of the Security Council vote, the US was using a non-existent chemical attack to justify its plans to launch military actions in Syria. Russia lost the vote on its own resolution that would have permitted a visit to Syria by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The US – joined by the United Kingdom and France — was among those who dismissed it as redundant because the investigation is already in the pipeline but no mechanism for assessing blame is part of the mandate.