January 6, 2020 / 3:01 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. accuses Russia, China of blocking U.N. statement on Baghdad embassy attack

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States accused Russia and China on Monday of blocking a U.N. Security Council statement underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises after a Dec. 31 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Such statements by the 15-member Security Council have to be agreed on by consensus.

The U.S. mission to the United Nations said 27 countries spoke out against the attack on the Baghdad embassy “in stark contrast to the United Nations Security Council’s silence due to two permanent members – Russia and China – not allowing a statement to proceed.”

The U.N. ambassadors of Russia and China both dismissed the U.S. accusation on Monday, saying they condemn any attacks on diplomatic premises around the world.

Militiamen and their supporters protesting deadly U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and torched a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31. U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for “orchestrating” the attack on the embassy.

On Friday, Iran’s most prominent general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that carried U.S.-Iranian hostilities into uncharted waters.

Russia and China said any statement by the U.N. Security Council on the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad should also include the latest developments.

“We have seen more events taking place, especially the unilateral action from the United States,” China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, told reporters. “If the council is supposed to do something, we should have complete coverage of the whole thing.”

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia echoed Zhang’s remarks.

“The press statement was nearly ready. It was agreed upon, at least with us and with the U.S.. However then, on 3 January, there was that strike on the airport in Baghdad. To ignore this and not to take this into account in the overall context would be impossible,” Nebenzia told reporters.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney

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