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Russia vetoes Security Council renewal of Syria chemical weapons investigation, again

[JURIST] The Russian Federation on Friday vetoed [press release] a measure before the UN Security Council (UNSC) [official website] that would have extended the mandate of a UN panel investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria for thirty days.

The UNSC had established [S/Res 2235 text] the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW) [official website] in 2015 with a two-year mandate following the use of chemical weapons in Syria in violation of, among other things, the Chemical Weapons Convention [UN materials].

With the OPCW's mandate set to expire Friday at midnight, the UNSC had undertaken four separate measures in the last three weeks aimed at extending the group's work, all of which faced opposition from the Russian delegation. The most recent attempt, which aimed to extend the mandate by 12 months [draft resolution, PDF] was vetoed by Russia [press release] late Thursday. Russia had previously tabled a draft resolution that it said was intended to fix fundamental flaws in the OPCW's structure, and resisted any extension that did not address those issues.

Absent an extraordinary surprise, the OPCW's mandate will expire at midnight Friday.

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