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US blames Russia, China for blocking UN statement on Baghdad Embassy attack

Iraqi Security Forces guard the outside of the U.S. Embassy Compound in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 1, 2020. (DoD photo by British Lt. Col. Adrian Weale)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Russian and Chinese envoys at the UN say they oppose the New Year’s Eve attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad but insist that a statement by the international body’s Security Council condemning it should address the subsequent U.S. killing of Iran’s top military commander.

Their stance prompted the United States on January 6 to accuse the two permanent members of the Security Council of blocking a statement that emphasizes the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises after Iran-backed Shi’ite militias attacked the U.S. Embassy compound in Iraq.

Statements by the 15-member Security Council must be agreed on by consensus.

The U.S. diplomatic mission at the UN said 27 countries had censured the attack on the Baghdad Embassy “in stark contrast to the United Nations Security Council’s silence due to two permanent members — Russian and China — not allowing a statement to proceed.”

President Donald Trump on January 3 authorized an air strike in Iraq that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The drone strike sharply escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran to a boiling point and carried both into uncharted waters.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign arm of Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the 62-year-old Soleimani helped orchestrate Tehran’s overseas clandestine and military operations.

Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said that although he agreed with the proposed U.S. statement condemning the embassy attack, it would’ve been “impossible” not to mention the U.S. killing of Soleimani.

Similarly, Chinese UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said that “if the [Security] Council is supposed to do something, we should have complete coverage of the whole thing.”

Meanwhile, Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, spoke out in support of Trump on January 6 amid widespread criticism of the killing of Soleimani.

“We don’t accept terrorism,” Bolsonaro told journalists in Brasilia as quoted by AFP.

He added that “if we have a terrorist in Brazil, we would deliver him” to justice.

The same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makey and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, saying he “appreciated” their “support in condemning the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.”