On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a resolution condemning the chemical attack in northern Syria that killed over 80 people. The resolution was sponsored by France, the UK and the US all of whom have claimed that Bashar Assad is responsible for the attack.
|Earlier versions of the resolution had explicitly blamed Assad for the attack. This one does not explicitly do so but by its terms suggests that he was. The UN account of the Security Council meeting noted that the Russian representative Vladimir Safronkov said that the Russian delegation voted against the draft because of its "erroneous" contents, noting that his countries concerns and priorities were set aside. Safronkov said that the troika of the UK, France, and the US had already named a perpetrator before a proper investigation had been conducted. He said that by presenting a doomed resolution that they had undermined the unity of the Council. Council members agree that there should be an investigation and also agree to condemn any gas attack but they cannot agree on the words of a resolution.|
Bolivia had voted against the draft because the Council should not be used as a sounding board for war-related propaganda and interventionism, he said. Noting that some Council members had been excluded from negotiations on the text, he said the vote’s outcome had been known in advance. What was the point of the exercise? he asked, questioning whether the Council was a pawn in the negotiations between the Russian Federation and the United States. Were the sponsors acting for the benefit of the Syrian people or for their own political and military ends?This is in my opinion the most perceptive response to the situation. The US, France, and the UK are trying to steer the investigation towards blaming Assad and even putting in clauses that would see him punished for non-compliance with the terms whereas the rebels are subject to no such provisions.