September 26, 2013

Deal reached at U.N. to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons 

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Syrian opposition fighters fire at government forces near Daraa customs in Daraa al-Balad, Syria, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013.

The Associated Press / Sham News Network via AP video

The U.N. resolution will include the text of the OPCW's declaration and make it legally binding — so the OPCW must act first.

The OPCW said Thursday it was optimistic it could quickly schedule a meeting of its 41-nation executive council to approve its roadmap for Syria's stockpile.

A U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations have been private, said the OPCW board wasn't likely to meet before Sunday, which means that Security Council adoption of the resolution likely won't take place until next week.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters Thursday evening that "we've advanced well."

He cited agreement on three difficult issues that France had pushed for: the inclusion of a sentence saying the use of chemical weapons in Syria and anywhere else is a crime; the inclusion of a reference to Chapter 7 that contains the same wording as in the U.S.-Russia agreement reached in Geneva; and the inclusion of a statement saying those responsible for using chemical weapons must be held accountable.

The Geneva agreement did not have an automatic Chapter 7 trigger for enforcement — a point France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud confirmed Thursday evening.

He said a second resolution will be needed if Syria violates the resolution's provisions.

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