Russia and China vetoed UN resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons use,the twin vetoes came as peace talks in Geneva showed no signs of progress on ending the nearly six-year war in Syria.
It was the seventh time that Russia, Syria’s top military ally, has used its veto power to shield the Damascus regime. China has backed Moscow by using its veto six times on Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned ahead of the vote that imposing sanctions on Syria was completely inappropriate while talks were ongoing in Geneva on ending the war.
The resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States won nine votes in favor, while three countries opposed it — Bolivia, China and Russia. Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained. UN resolutions require nine positive votes and no veto to be adopted.
The resolution would have put 11 Syrians, mainly military commanders, and 10 entities linked to chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015 on a UN sanctions blacklist. It included a ban on the sale of helicopters and of chemical agents to the Syrian armed forces or the government.In October UN-led investigation concluded that the Syrian air force had dropped chlorine barrel-bombs from helicopters on three opposition-held villages in 2014 and 2015.
French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the vote was a “moment of truth” for the council, arguing that chemical weapons use was a “negation of all civilization.”
UN-brokered talks that opened on Thursday in Geneva ran into hurdles after Russia insisted that counter-terrorism be added to the agenda putting pressure on opposition groups with ties to Islamist fighters.