Presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia to meet on Syria and regional developments next week; Russia vetoes renewing UN inquiry on Syrian army chemical weapons attacks; Russia: We condemn chemical weapons use, Nov. 17, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks on Syria with his counterparts from Turkey and Iran next week, the Kremlin announcing the summit Thursday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will arrive in Sochi on Wednesday, November 22. According to Russian media, the talks will center on Syria, Kurdish forces and regional developments.
The summit will follow Russia casting its tenth veto of the United Nations Security Council on a resolution to renew inquiry into the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.
The resolution, which was drafted by the United States, was vetoed by Russia on Thursday, the inquiry of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons expiring Thursday. Out of the 15 member states, 11 voted in favor of renewing the inquiry with China and Egypt abstaining and Russia and Bolivia voting against. As Russia is one of five permanent members, it has veto power on UN Security Council resolutions.
The inquiry into the April 4, 2017 attacks on Khan Sheikhoun has been carried out for months, with an investigation on the chemical attacks that killed over 85 and wounded over 300. The United Nations Commission of Inquiry announced in September that it has evidence that the Syrian Air Force carried out the attacks, reporting “All evidence available leads the Commission to conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe Syrian forces dropped an aerial bomb dispersing sarin in Khan Sheikhou.”
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzi responded to criticism on the veto Thursday, stating “We condemn chemical weapons use… We need a robust, professional mechanism that will help to prevent the proliferation of the threat of chemical terrorism in the region and you need a puppet-like structure to manipulate public opinion.”
Photo: Putin & Rouhani, CC, 2016