China abstains with Kazakhstan and Ethiopia. Bolivia votes with Russia. Trump calls Assad "a butcher" and "animal". Lavrov recalls US failures in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Journalist Rober Perry, chemical attack launched from Saudi-Israeli base in Jordan. Pat Buchanan: The 400 thousand deaths in Syria are everyone’s responsibility.
New York (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution criticizing the Syrian government for the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun (Idlib). The resolution demands the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation by providing information on its military activities on the day of the attack, the names of the squadrons commanders, and access to air bases.
The resolution, proposed by the US, Britain and France, had 10 votes in favor, two against (Russia and Bolivia), three abstentions (China, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia). A few hours earlier, US President Donald Trump had called his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad "a butcher" and an "animal".
Western governments immediately attributed responsibility for the gassing to Syria. It gave Trump the opportunity to make a radical U-turn in his Middle East and international policy.
In addition to Syria, this change in course has also affected Russia. From a possible partner in the fight against terrorism, Trump now sees relations with Moscow as "at the lowest level."
Similar concepts were used yesterday by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after his meeting, which lasted six hours, with Russian Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov. At the press conference that followed, Tillerson reiterated condemnation of Assad and his exclusion from the future of Syria.
Lavrov warned against hasty conclusions, recalling US policy failures in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. And with regards Iraq, he also recalled the "charade" of false accusations on the possession of weapons of mass destruction that were never found, but were the pretext for the invasion of the country.
To show Moscow's willingness to dialogue, Lavrov said that Russia will resume the agreement for the prevention of aircraft accidents in the Syrian sky - stopped after the US attack on the Sharyat air base - and Putin met Tillerson for two hours, in a visit that was not previously announced.
The Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack continues to be subject to the most varied hypotheses and readings. For the US there is "evidence" that the raid was carried out by the Syrian air force. But at Moscow's request to publish proof, Washington says it cannot for security reasons.
According to sources quoted by US journalist Robert Perry, the raid was actually launched from Jordan, as a base for special operations where Saudis and Israelis work to support the Syrian rebels. The incident was specially designed to force a change by the Trump administration following the March declaration that the White House no longer sought the removal of Assad.
Pat Buchanan, a Republican, and former White House counsel, questions whether the US president does not want to drag the country into a war against Assad and his allies in Syria. "This gas attack [Chemical] – he adds - is an atrocity ... The civil war in Syria has caused 400 thousand deaths. Were they all killed by the Assad army? Of course not, but also by aircraft and by US drones, by the Russians, the Israelis, Turks, and then again by the Kurds, the Iranians, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, by the Islamic state and the rebels supported by the United States. "