Russian Federation shoots down US-backed extension of Syria gas attacks probe

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Turkish, Russian and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Turkey's Mediterranean city of Antalya at the weekend ahead of a trilateral meeting on Syria in Russia's Sochi city next Wednesday, Turkish foreign minister has said.

The 4 April sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens of people prompted the United States to launch missiles on a Syrian air base.

Britain's United Nations ambassador told reporters Tuesday that it's extremely important that everyone who uses chemical weapons in Syria or elsewhere is held accountable, and the JIM is crucial in determining responsibility. The United States put to a resolution to vote to renew the JIM with the same mandate for an additional year on October 24, two days before the release of the JIM's final report.

Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the U.S. draft resolution was not balanced.

It remained unclear whether Russian Federation would veto the US-drafted measure, which would be the 10th time that Moscow has used its veto power at the council to block action targeting its Syrian ally.

"We would like to remind our U.S. colleagues and those who ... supported their unrealistic draft, we would like to remind you that you bear the burden of responsibility if the mechanism can not be salvaged", Nebenzia told the council.

Addressing the council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley assailed the veto as a "deep blow", saying "Russia has killed the investigative mechanism which has overwhelming support of this council". "In such circumstance, my proposal is to withdraw the resolution initiated by Russia", Nebenzya said.

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Washington and Moscow have presented rival draft resolutions on renewing for a year the mandate of the UN-backed Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), which is tasked with identifying who is responsible for the many chemical attacks that have been perpetrated throughout the war.

The joint UN-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) panel was set up by Russian Federation and the United States in 2015 and unanimously endorsed by the council, which renewed its mandate a year ago. The vote was expected to take place later on Thursday.

While Russia agreed to the 2015 creation of the JIM, it has consistently questioned its findings, which also concluded that the Syrian government used chlorine as a weapon several times. The UN Security Council failed to adopt US -drafted resolution extending mandate of mechanism investigating chemical attacks in Syria on Thursday.

Nebenzia said Monday, "It is important that the JIM is renewed but on an updated mandate because the systemic errors that we saw with the recent report should be corrected, and that's the aim of our resolution".

Turkey earlier this month said Russian Federation had made a decision to postpone a planned Syria peace conference with all parties after Ankara objected to the potential inclusion of Kurdish forces.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Russian Federation and the United States.