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UN council weighs compromise on Syria gas attack probe

Russia has rejected the proposed Western-backed resolution [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 April, 2017

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Ten UN Security Council countries circulated a compromise resolution on Thursday demanding a full investigation into the chemical attack in Syria.
Seeking to avert a clash between Russia and the West, 10 Security Council countries circulated a compromise resolution on Thursday demanding a full investigation into the chemical attack in Syria, diplomats said. 

The new text - the third now calling for an investigation into the gas attack - was presented ahead of a closed-door meeting of the 15-member council on Syria at 2230 GMT. 

It remained unclear if Russia or the other four permanent council members would back the compromise presented, as the United States weighed military options in Syria.

Britain, France and the United States are pushing for a vote later on Thursday on their draft text in response to the strike on a town in the Idlib province that shocked the world

At least 86 people - including 27 children - died in Khan Sheikhun. Results from post-mortems performed on victims point to exposure to the deadly sarin nerve agent, according to Turkish health officials. 

Britain, France and the United States are permanent council members along with Russia and China.

The 10 non-permanent members are Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Italy, Kazakhstan and Sweden. 

Their compromise text would drop demands that Syria hand over information on its military operations on the day of the strike, replacing them with language from a previous resolution urging cooperation on chemical weapons investigations, diplomats said. 

"There are efforts to find a way forward that might be a compromise," Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog told reporters. 

"We are going to try to make sure we have a good discussion before there are any votes." 

Russia has rejected the proposed Western-backed resolution as "categorically unacceptable" and put forward a rival draft that does not include specific demands that the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation.  

The Russian text calls for an investigation but requests that the council approve the makeup of the team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) dispatched to Idlib, according to the draft seen by AFP.

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