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US and Russia Reach Agreement on Syria
On Thursday, a 15-member body of the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting to consider a draft resolution to which both Russia and the US have agreed as a solution to the Syria situation. The resolution requires Syria to give up its chemical weapons.
For weeks, Russia and the US have disagreed over ensuring the disarmament of chemical weapons in Syria and how to make sure that the Syrian regime complies with disarmament terms.
Though the draft resolution does not include automatic enforcement if Syria does not comply, the text of the resolution was sufficient to make both the U.S. and Russia happy for the moment.
The text of the draft mentions that non-compliance would include “unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic,” thus including both government and rebel forces within its ambit.
The draft also mentions that the U.N. Security Council could hold a second vote for imposing measures under Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter, which permits economic sanctions or if required, military action.
The draft resolution, if approved, would ban Syria from possessing chemical weapons. It condemned the August 21 attack and mentioned that the use of chemical weapons anywhere threatens international peace and security.
The adoption of the resolution can break the two and half year long stalemate between the two international camps for and against the current government in Syria that deadlocked the U.N. and prevented it from taking actions.
Russia and China have already vetoed three previous bills meant to punish Assad’s government.
Conflicting claims remain about the August 21 attacks that killed about 1400 people. While most of the international community, including the U.S. has contended the attack was carried out by Assad’s forces, Assad has put the blame on rebels and his allies, including Russia have supported his assertions.