US & allies will try to get Moscow on board for new UNSC resolution after attacking Syria – report
The draft resolution, authored by the US, the UK and France, was seen by AFP, which reported that the discussions over the text are set to commence on Monday. It is unclear when and whether the draft will be submitted to the UN Security Council to vote on, the report notes, citing "Western diplomats" as saying that this time the Western states will do their best to negotiate it with Moscow.
If true, it would be a surprising change of pace, considering that in the run-up to the massive coordinated strike on Syria's military and civilian facilities on Saturday, the West accused Russia of being complicit in an alleged chemical attack in Douma on April, 7. Just several days ago, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley showed no hint of compromise, as she branded the Russian government a "regime" whose "hands are covered in the blood of Syrian children."
On Friday, she further fueled the fire by saying it was "Russia alone that has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime's multiple uses of chemical weapons."
Several consecutive resolutions on investigating the Douma incident, drafted by Russia on the one side and the US on the other, have failed in the United Security Council. While Russia vetoed the American proposals, its own drafts failed to garner enough votes to require a veto, outweighed by those of America's allies on the Council.
On Tuesday, the Western permanent members of the Council even rejected what Russian envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia called an "innocuous" resolution welcoming the fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Syria. That draft "almost completely copied" an earlier proposal by Sweden.
The reported new draft, sponsored by Washington, Paris and London appears to be no different from the earlier proposals advocated by the West. According to AFP, it seeks to establish an investigation into the allegations that Damascus used chlorine-filled munitions on civilians in Douma. While the OPCW fact-finding mission is not in a position to apportion blame, the newly-created mechanism would be tasked with determining the culprit. In line with the Western claims that Syria has not destroyed all its chemical stockpiles, the draft gives the OPCW 30 days to report back to the UNSC whether this is the case. The draft also calls for facilitating humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria and a renewal of the 30-day humanitarian ceasefire outlined in the resolution unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on February 24.
As far as the Syrian peace settlement is concerned, the draft reportedly includes a veiled threat levelled at Syrian President Bashar Assad, as it "demands" him to participate in peace negotiations "constructively and without preconditions."
The US, the UK and France unleashed over 100 missiles on Syria on Saturday, targeting facilities they claim are at the "heart" of the Syrian chemical program. Hailing the attack, which was denounced by Russian President Vladimir Putin as "an aggression against a sovereign state," Haley said that US guns are "locked and loaded," and that it will not hesitate to strike again in case of a new chemical attack in Syria.