Russia warns US on Syria attack

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By AFP
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Russia has warned the United States that there could be “negative consequences” if Washington takes military action against Syria.

“All responsibility if military action occurs will be on the shoulders of those who initiated such a doubtful tragic enterprise,” Russian Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told reporters following a closed-door Security Council meeting on Syria.

Safronkov on Thursday said he had been “frank” during the meeting, telling the council: “We have to think about the negative consequences”.

“Look at Iraq, look at Libya,” he said,  referring to Western interventions in those countries that unleashed years of chaos.

The United States threatened Syria with military action as President Donald Trump warned “something should happen” following a suspected chemical attack that left at least 86 dead — including 27 children — and provoked global outrage.

The Security Council emerged from a nearly two-hour meeting with no agreement on how to press forward with an investigation of the attack on Khan Sheikhun in rebel-held Idlib province.

Results from post-mortems performed on victims point to exposure to the deadly sarin nerve agent, according to Turkish health officials.

Three separate draft resolutions were under discussion in the Security Council.

Britain, France and the United States had pushed for a vote on their proposed measure, but decided to hold off during the meeting. Diplomats said a vote now was more likely on Friday.

The Russian ambassador said the decision to postpone the vote “opens up a window for further work” on a compromise.

Russia has rejected the Western-backed resolution as “categorically unacceptable” and put forward a rival draft that does not include specific demands for cooperation from the Syrian government.

Seeking to avert a clash between Russia and the West, 10 Security Council countries circulated a compromise resolution, but the text drew a cool response from the United States.

A council diplomat said the United States was showing “no flexibility”.

Britain, France and the United States blame President Bashar al-Assad’s forces for the attack that they have described as a war crime, but the Syrian army has denied any involvement.


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