Exterior view of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headquarters in The Hague October 11, 2013 - REUTERSMichel Kooren
NEW YORK – 16 November 2017: The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Thursday on rival US and Russian bids to renew an international inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, diplomats said, a move that could trigger Russia's 10th veto to block action on Syria, Channel News Asia reported.
The mandate for the joint inquiry by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which found the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent sarin in an April 4 attack, expires at midnight Thursday.
The United States was first to ask for a vote on its draft resolution, followed quickly by Russia. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.
Diplomats say there is little support among the 15-member council for the Russian draft, which Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has said aims to correct "systemic errors" of the inquiry, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).
Russia has vetoed nine resolutions on Syria since the conflict started in 2011, including blocking an initial US bid on Oct. 24 to renew the JIM, saying it wanted to wait for the release two days later of the inquiry's report that blamed a sarin gas attack on the Syrian government.
"The United States hopes the Security Council will stand united in the face of chemical weapons use against civilians and extend the work of this critical group," the US mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Wednesday.
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