Russia is ready to veto a draft resolution calling for sanctions against Syria’s regime led by Bashar al-Assad over the use of chemical weapons on civilians, a top Russian diplomat to the United Nations said on Friday, prompting a rebuke from the United States.
“There is an argument that the resolution itself contradicts the fundamental principle of presumption of innocence before the investigation is over,” Vladimir Safronkov, Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, said after a Security Council meeting to discuss the
“How much longer is Russia going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime?” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said later.
She told reporters that after an “overwhelming” vote to investigate whether Syria was using chemical weapons, “the results have come out and people don’t like what the results are. It is ridiculous.”
UK Ambassador to the U.N. Peter Wilson said on Friday it would be put to a vote as soon as possible.
Earlier, the head of the French mission to the U.N. said the credibility of the Security Council was at stake over the issue.
“What is at stake here frankly is the credibility of the Security Council,” he told reporters.
Russia is the largest international backer of the of Bashar al-Assad-led regime.
The draft resolution seeks to blacklist 11 Syrian military commanders and officials and 10 regime and related entities involved in the development and production of chemical weapons.
It calls for an asset freeze and travel ban for the individuals and entities across all U.N. member states.