Agencies (Qasioun) - Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council vote on a U.S.-sponsored resolution to extend the mandate of chemical weapons inspectors in Syria.
The veto will prevent inspectors from doing their job and investigating chemical weapons attacks in Syria unless a new agreement is struck to extend them before mid-November.
The resolution did garner 11 votes, so it would have passed if not for the Russian veto. France, which holds the presidency, read the vote. Ambassador Francois Delattre said that the vote failed because of the veto.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is traveling in Africa, condemned the Russian veto. "Russia has once again demonstrated it will do whatever it takes to ensure the barbaric Assad regime never faces consequences for its continued use of chemicals as weapons," she said in a statement.
Russia, which is an ally of the Assad regime in Syria, has been critical of the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) program, which was created with Russian approval and was passed unanimously by the Security Council in 2015. It was later renewed in 2016.
When the OPCW found traces of "sarin or sarin-related chemicals" in an earlier attack in Syria, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said it was "clear that the Syrian regime not only lied about the extent of their chemical weapons program, but that they will continue to refuse to cooperate with watchdog organizations like the OPCW."