UN sources say Security Council may vote on Syria

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is expected to vote on a draft resolution proposed by Russia and the United States aimed at eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons.

According to US and European diplomats, the vote could come as early as Friday if the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) approves a plan to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said in a press briefing late Thursday, “We are hoping that, according to the procedure, the OPCW executive council will be able to make the decision within 24 hours.”

“If it happens in The Hague tomorrow night, that is, when it is 3 or 4 p.m. here in New York, we will be able to vote [on the UN resolution] at 8 p.m.”

On September 14, the United States and Russia reached an agreement in Geneva on a framework that will see the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The deal was reached after Russia offered Syria to put its chemical weapons arsenal under international control and Damascus accepted the proposal.

French diplomats said the vote would be held at a “ministerial level” as foreign ministers from China, France, Russia; and the US secretary of state as well as the UK foreign secretary, are in New York for the 68th annual Session of the UN General Assembly.

If the draft is approved, the resolution would be the first one passed by the Council on Syria since the outbreak of the foreign-sponsored crisis in the Arab country in March 2011.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow has reached an accord with Washington on the draft, which “does not envision any actions based on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter,” which authorizes military action to restore peace and security.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the deal was “a very significant breakthrough in terms of the Security Council acting finally, potentially, in a united fashion.”

So far, Russia has vetoed three Western-drafted resolutions seeking to increase pressure on the Syrian government, totally rejecting any suggestion of military force or sanctions against the crisis-hit country.

Meanwhile, UN chemical weapons investigators are back in Syria to continue their probe into the use of chemical weapons in the country. The team conducted a preliminary investigation last month and presented a report on September 15.

By Press TV

 

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