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11th-Apr-2018

Russia, US headed for clash at UN over Syria gas attacks probe

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AFP, United Nations :
The UN Security Council weighed whether to hold a vote Tuesday on a US proposal to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria, setting up a clash with Russia, which could decide to veto the measure, diplomats said.
The United States put forward a draft resolution Monday following alleged toxic gas use in the rebel-held town of Douma that killed at least 40 people and prompted President Donald Trump to indicate that a decision could be taken imminently on US military action.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley told Security Council diplomats that the United States wanted a vote on the measure, even though Russia said it contained "some unacceptable elements."
Russia put forward its own proposal in January that has been rejected by Western powers who say it would give the Syrian government an upper hand over investigations on its territory.
"The United States is pushing for a vote tomorrow," said a Security Council diplomat. "The US position was that they were negotiating in good faith, but the world is watching for the council to act."
Experts were meeting to discuss the draft resolutions, but no vote was formally requested by late Monday.
The US push for a new inquiry came amid heightened tensions over possible US military action in Syria, with Trump saying "major decisions" would be taken within 48 hours.
"From what we hear now, I am afraid they are looking for a military option, which is very, very dangerous," Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters following an emergency council meeting.
Trump-who last year launched a missile strike on a Syrian air base after sarin was used in the town of Khan Sheikhun-warned after the latest accusations that there would be a "big price to pay."