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Turkey, Russia and Iran to hold summit on Syria next week

Turkey, Russia and Iran to hold summit on Syria next week

France, which voted in favor of renewing the mandate for the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), also expressed alarm.

The 15-nation council was due to vote on Thursday on rival USA and Russian bids to renew the global inquiry, diplomats said on Wednesday, a move that could trigger Russia's 10th veto to block action on Syria.

Russia, which is Syria's most important ally, has submitted a rival draft resolution on renewing the experts' mandate to the Security Council.

Russian Federation vetoed a US -sponsored Security Council resolution on October 24 that would have renewed the mandate of the experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Russian text is unlikely to garner the nine votes required for adoption, diplomats said. The two documents had different timeframe - the Russian draft extended the mandate until May 16, 2018, while the United States version gave the mission 24 months since the adoption of the resolution.




U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged all members of the U.N. Security Council to back the renewal of the worldwide inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, saying it was needed to prevent President Bashar al-Assad from using the arms, Reuters reports. "Not doing so would only give consent to such atrocities while tragically failing the Syrian people who have suffered from these despicable acts". The Kremlin sharply criticized the JIM after its latest report blamed the Assad regime for a sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens. Two days prior to that, Russian Federation vetoed a non-agreed draft resolution extending the JIM's mandate and later made public its opinion of the investigators' report, saying it was "amateurish" and its conclusions were based on "a laymen's methodology". The Russian OPCW envoy, Alexander Shulgin, said a week ago that the investigation in fact is particularly "skewed" towards one theory behind the chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province that took place in April.

Previous reports by the JIM have found that Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine attacks on three villages in 2014 and 2015 and that the Islamic State group used mustard gas in 2015.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said in a statement Wednesday calling for the vote that "there are many more instances of chemical weapons use in Syria that must be investigated".

A bid by the United States, Britain and France to impose sanctions over the chlorine attacks was vetoed by Russian Federation in February.

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