United Nations — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to require Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal or face consequences, according to reports.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Today’s resolution will ensure that the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program happens as soon as possible and with the utmost transparency and accountability”.
The resolution was the result of a deal struck earlier this month between the United States and Russia that narrowly averted an American military strike against the Syrian government over alleged chemical weapons use in an August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb that killed 1,400 people.
The resolution did not include an automatic use of force if Syria does not comply, as sought by the U.S.
The Security Council had been unable to reach a consensus over what to do about Syria’s civil war for nearly two years, with Russia and China repeatedly vetoing resolutions condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Syria has announced it was willing to abide by the agreement and get rid of its chemical weapons.
Both the United States and Russia warned Syria that it would face consequences if it failed to adhere to the U.N. resolution.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that his nation, a long time ally of Syria, “will stand ready to take action” if the resolution needs enforcement.
U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Syria this week to investigate a half-dozen allegations of chemical weapons use by both sides in the conflict.
Ban called on both the Syrian government and the rebels to stop the fighting, saying “As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalog of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns. 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.”
The U.N. estimates over 100,000 have died in the Syrian conflict since March 2011 when a government crackdown on protesters turned into an all-out civil war. Image/AFP/news.yahoo.com