US resolution on Syria chemical weapons attacks vetoed by Russia at UN

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After warning Monday of "grave repercussions" of USA military action, the Russian ambassador urged the United States to "come to your senses" and refrain from ordering strikes on Syria.

"This has coincided with a request from the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma".

In Moscow, a senior Russian lawmaker said his country is willing to help arrange a visit this week for experts from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog to the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria.

This time, the US, France and Britain believe Assad's forces unleashed chemical weapons on rebel-held Douma, affecting over 500 and killing dozens, with Russian and Iranian involvement or consent. Amid adverse media campaigns, sponsored by Western powers, Syria has been living since March 2011 a bloody armed conflict with around 500,000 dead and wounded people, according to United Nations and humanitarian agencies. The US wants a new panel to be set up that would investigate and apportion blame for chemical attacks in Syria, but Russian Federation is likely to veto the proposal.

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The resolution needed at least nine yes votes in the 15-member council for approval but only six countries voted in favour.

US President Donald Trump spoke over phone on Tuesday with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Syria, as the possibility of US military actions against Syria was looming large.

Following Mrs May's talks with the USA and French leaders, a Downing Street spokesman said: "They agreed that reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria were utterly reprehensible and if confirmed, represented further evidence of the Assad regime's appalling cruelty against its own people and total disregard for its legal obligations not to use these weapons". Bolivia also opposed it while China abstained.

The votes on Tuesday came amid an escalating war of words between Washington and Moscow and a looming threat of Western military action following a suspected gas attack on the Syrian rebel-held town of Douma on Saturday.

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Earlier, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump would not attend the Summit of the Americas in Peru on April 13 and later visit Colombia, remaining in the United States to "oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world".

Russian Federation and the United States are continuing their saber-rattling over the latest allegations of a chemical attack in Syria.

Both Trump and his defense secretary Jim Mattis abruptly canceled upcoming travel plans, as the USS Donald Cook - a guided-missile destroyer - moved to within striking range of Syria.

"We would call upon them to do that but I think a military response is appropriate".

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