UNSC passes resolution on Syrian chemical arms

UNSC passes resolution on Syrian chemical arms
Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:59:47

The UN Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously passed a binding resolution that requires the Syrian government to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal but does not indicate any use of force as demanded by US and its allies.

The UNSC vote came Friday evening, only hours after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adopted what it called "a historic decision on the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons" by mid-2014.

Speaking in New York after the passage of the resolution, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the decision as "historic."

“As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns,” Ban added.

He further emphasized, “A red light for one form of weapons does not mean a green light for others. This is not a license to kill with conventional weapons. All the violence must end. All the guns must fall silent.”

This is while Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari reiterated after the vote that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, the US and other countries that support Syria's insurgent forces, should also abide by the resolution.

The issue of using force if Syria is not compliant with the resolution has been a consistent sticking point between the US and Russia.

The resolution “does not allow any automatically enforced punitive measures,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the UNSC measure was adopted.

“It confirms agreements reached during the Russian-US meeting in Geneva that any violation of its obligations, as well as the use of chemical weapons by whoever, should become a subject of a detailed consideration by the UN Security Council,” he added.

Lavrov further pointed out that the resolution lays the basis for a future political and diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives, according to UN estimates.

He also noted that Russia was prepared to take part “in all components” of the future action to eliminate chemical arms in Syria.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry described the resolution as a "strong, enforceable, precedent-setting" document which shows that “diplomacy can be so powerful that it can peacefully defuse the worst weapons of war."

While Washington has insisted that the threat of military force is crucial to ensuring that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad abides by the terms of the US-Russia plan to secure and destroy its chemical arms, Russia has said military intervention is unacceptable.

Under terms of the resolution, the council "decides, in the event of non-compliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter."

Until recently, any Security Council decision-making on Syria was paralyzed when Russia and China blocked US-led efforts to win the UN backing for a military intervention. The two veto-wielding members have blocked three UN Security Council resolutions on Syria since October 2011.

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