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Russia, China Block UN Sanctions On Syria Over Gas Attacks

01 March 2017

"In terms of sanctions against the Syrian leadership, I think that now they are completely inappropriate".

While the Russians had long signalled their intent to block the resolution, which was supported by dozens of countries, including the U.S., the clash offered insights into the big divides that remain between the Kremlin and President Donald Trump, who has vowed to improve ties.

"It is a sad day on the Security Council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people", she said. Haley said that in addition to those confirmed instances, there were credible reports of the weapons having been used "many, many" more times.

"In Syria, the use of chemical weapons by the regime and by Daesh (the Islamic State group), including against civilian populations, is intolerable", Ayrault said.

Before the vote, Britain's ambassador to the U.N., Matthew Rycroft, graphically described the death of a 6-year-old Syrian boy in a chemical weapons attack.

In 2013, Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons following an agreement between the United States (U.S.) and Russian Federation. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill as it burns the lungs and victims drown in their own body fluids.

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In 2012, President Barack Obama said that he did not intend to intervene in the Syrian war but also that Assad's deployment of Syria's known chemical arsenal could change his calculation.

French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said the failure by the council to act would "send a message of impunity". Today's draft proposed sanctions on designated individuals linked to the production of chemical weapons in Syria, as well as an embargo on any materials that could be used to produce chemical weapons.

The draft resolution would have banned the sale or supply of helicopters to the Syrian government, and would have placed targeted travel bans and asset freezes on Syrian military and government officers.

The resolution got the minimum number of votes. Nine members of the security council voted in its favor, while three voted against it. Three countries abstained: Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.

France's criticism was echoed by Britain, with Foreign Minister Boris Johnson saying the veto by Russian Federation and China was "deeply disappointing". Syria also signed the global Chemical Weapons Convention.

Russian Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov raises his hand to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution concerning Syrian chemical weapons on Tuesday.