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UN Security Council Passes Chemical Weapons Resolution on Syria

World  (tags: 'HUMANRIGHTS!', conflict, Chemical weapons, government, middle-east, politics, Refugees&Relief, society, Syria, UnitedNations )

- 1729 days ago -
Resolution backs plan to remove chemical weapons stockpile from Syria, but stops short of authorizing threat of force

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Kit B (276)
Friday September 27, 2013, 5:40 pm
Photo Credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Friday backing a plan to turn Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile over to international monitors. It was the first time the divided council has been able to unite and pass a resolution related to the Syrian conflict, which has torn the country for two and a half years.

U.S. officials are hailing the resolution as a victory, in the wake of three joint vetoes by Russia and China in the past two years. However, the resolution – which President Barack Obama and other Western diplomats have called “binding” and “enforceable” – lacks the teeth that the Obama administration has repeatedly called for.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in hastily scheduled, closed-door talks Thursday afternoon to resolve several last-minute disputes over the text. Shortly afterward, Lavrov said that Moscow and Washington had reached an “understanding” on the draft.

The United States and its allies France and the United Kingdom, the three permanent Western members of the Security Council, have repeatedly called for a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which allows for military and nonmilitary actions to promote peace and security.

The draft resolution makes clear there is no trigger for any enforcement measures if Syria fails to comply with the provisions of the resolution of the dismantling of its chemical weapons. Instead, it states that in the event of noncompliance or use of chemical weapons, the Security Council will “impose measures under Chapter 7 of the United Nations charter,” which would require a second resolution – but any resolution authorizing military intervention in Syria would be extremely unlikely to pass through the U.N. Security Council.

Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, is a long-standing ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow has been supporting Damascus both militarily and politically since the conflict began as mass protests against the government. The demonstrations drew a swift and brutal crackdown by authorities, which escalated into a brutal and ongoing civil war.

China, the fifth permanent member of the council, has backed Russia diplomatically and joined Moscow in vetoing the last three resolutions aimed at solving the crisis over the past three years.

Diplomatic efforts have escalated in recent weeks after an Aug. 21 chemical attack. The U.S. said the attack killed more than 1,400 people, including at least 426 children, and Obama began an immediate march toward what, for days, seemed inevitable U.S.-led air strikes against military targets. He surprised the public, however, by saying he would seek congressional permission before intervening in the conflict. As momentum slowed, an off-the-cuff remark by Kerry – suggesting air strikes could be could be avoided if Syria destroyed or turned over its chemical weapons – led to Russia brokering a deal with Syria, with Damascus agreeing to a one-year timetable to destroy or remove chemical weapons from the country.

On Sept. 16 a team of U.N. investigators confirmed the use of the nerve agent Sarin gas in the attack. The report, however, did not assign blame. In an interview this week with Venezuelan TV, Assad said his government had evidence that opposition forces had used chemical weapons in a March attack this year.

The council has remained deadlocked over the Syrian conflict since it began. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and humanitarian chief Valerie Amos have lamented the U.N.’s “failure” to resolve the crisis. More than 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the violence

Al Jazeera America | Staff |

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday September 27, 2013, 6:38 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. My quick read of this is that these are steps in the right direction. Especially as opposed to going backwards, as we've been so good at doing in the past several years. Military strikes without communication are always a bad way to go. Keeping fingers crossed.

David C (129)
Friday September 27, 2013, 7:16 pm

JL A (281)
Friday September 27, 2013, 7:23 pm
Good progress at last with major players moving in the same direction!

David C (25)
Friday September 27, 2013, 7:26 pm
and what about a certain state in that area? which coincidentally is occupying part of Syria, and which has not only produced&imported and stockpiled CW (&BW) but is KNOWN to have used C-weapons, famous NON-signer of the CWC (1993); additionally in possession of nukes, NON-party to NPT, not allowing inspections by IAEA, in violation of umpteen UNSC resolutions, e.g. , once again, in Dec. 2012, "calling on Israel to join the NPT" etc. pp. ad absurdum
" Consider the principle of universality, perhaps the most elementary of moral principles: we apply to ourselves the standards we apply to others, if not more stringent ones. The principle is universal, or nearly so, in three further respects: it is found in some form in every moral code; it is universally applauded in words, and consistently rejected in practice. " -- Prof. Noam Chomsky

Wolfgang W (235)
Friday September 27, 2013, 11:58 pm
Inevitable US-led air strikes ? Military actions only increase the number of refugees!

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 3:04 am
It's a start.

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 4:27 am
Never hurt the innocent with lethal weapons as this

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 4:57 am

Craig Pittman (52)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 5:22 am
This is a major breakthrough. Negotiation and pressure without actual unilateral military action. Good on all concerned here. Thanks Kit.

lee e (114)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 5:24 am
A start, but no one is to be trusted - least of all the US - so time will tell - I doubt it will materialize without a "little" war to appease Lindsay Graham, if for no other reason!
Thanks Kit

Helen Porter (39)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 5:59 am
Kit you are serving us the best.

Thank you.

. (0)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 7:07 am
Great news, Kit. It's finally a step in the right direction. Thanks for sharing.

. (0)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 11:22 am
Syria is Iran's catspaw in the Middle East just as Iran is China's. It would be nice if they sanctioned the non governmental side also. It remains to be seen whether they will remove all the chemicals and biological weapons from the Beqaa as well and the two in NW Syria. Talk is cheap and you know what they say about the best laid plans ...

S S (0)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 12:11 pm
Thank you.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 12:38 pm
Thank you for the good news. Diplomatic talks and removing the weapons certainly the risk of military action which is definitely preferable. I'm so relieved.

Barbara K (60)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 1:05 pm
Great news. I hope they can settle down and become a democratic nation over there, with fair elections and stop the war on the people who just want freedom. Let them have freedom, we all want freedom.

JL A (281)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 1:33 pm
Part of why the UN was created was help nations resolve such issues without going to war--if it succeeds more countries might given the UN a chance rather than breaching international law to act unilaterally.

Aletta Kraan (146)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 4:13 pm
Noted !!

Roger G (154)
Saturday September 28, 2013, 4:40 pm
noted, thanks

Stan B (123)
Sunday September 29, 2013, 2:08 am
The U.N. can pass as many motions as it likes. Most of these weapons will be removed to other locations before the U.N. undertakes any meaningful effort to find them.

. (0)
Monday September 30, 2013, 12:30 am
Thanks for the update.

Sherri G (128)
Monday September 30, 2013, 2:00 am
Let's keep our fingers crossed that the UN is effective this time. TY Kit Noted
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