The top Democrat on the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee slammed Russia for its latest veto of a UN resolution condemning the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.
On Wednesday, from it perch on the UN Security Council, Russia vetoed the resolution which had the support of 10 of the 15 members on the council. Four other nations--including China--abstained. All it takes is one permanent Security Council member--such as Russia, China or the United States--to veto a resolution in order to kill it. This marks the eighth time Russia has vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime’s handling of the civil war going back to 2011.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, the ranking Democrat on the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, slammed Russia’s veto on Wednesday.
"Once again, Russia strong-armed the UN Security Council and abused its veto power in order to protect the criminal and ruthless dictator Assad,” Deutch said. “It is utterly despicable that Russia would block a resolution condemning the use of chemical weapons - an actual war crime - and backing an investigation into the attack. Russia's blind defense of the Assad regime and this horrific attack on innocent men, women, and children is truly an affront to the most basic of humanity."
At the end of last week, Deutch teamed up with U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, to send a letter to UN Amb. Nikki Haley, urging the Security Council crack down on the Assad regime.
“Assad’s repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria is barbaric and unconscionable," Ros-Lehtinen said. "I join my colleague in applauding Ambassador Haley for her strong condemnation of this brutal act at the Security Council and for her willingness to call out Russia and Iran for their culpability in perpetuating this tragedy. For over six years, we have seen horrifying images and the Syrian people have endured the unthinkable, yet these nations prevented any meaningful international response. The time for America to lead is now - we must hold those who impede a solution accountable and we must lead a response that ensures Assad is removed from power so that he cannot continue to murder at will innocent Syrians.”
“The awful images of babies gasping for air will not quickly leave our memories," insisted Deutch. "Assad’s inhumanity has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of lives displaced, and far too many tragedies. It is unconscionable for these actions to go unpunished by the international community. Yet, time after time, Russia obstructs any meaningful global action against Assad, instead continuing to enable this dictator to slaughter more innocent civilians. We cannot turn a blind eye to this tragedy. I join with my colleague in urging our leadership at the United Nations to continue to push for action.”