The 15-member UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that demands the eradication of Syria’s chemical weapons. Experts must be given unlimited access.
The deal breaks a two-and-a-half year deadlock over the crisis and does not threaten automatic punitive action against the government of Bashar al-Assad if it does not comply. The country would, however, face “consequences”.
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, gave his reaction to the vote:
“Together the world with a single voice for the first time is imposing a binding obligation on the Assad regime requiring it to get rid of weapons that have been used to devastating effect as tools of terror.”
The US and other nations have blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on August 21 in which hundreds died.
Speaking after the vote the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that the resolution “reaffirms the agreement reached at the meeting of the US and Russia in Geneva regarding the use of chemical weapons by any side. It will have to be carefully investigated by the UN Security Council, which would be ready to take action under Chapter 7.”
The vote came just hours after the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons agreed on an “accelerated programme” to eliminate all Syria’s chemical weapons by mid 2014. Inspections will commence from October 1.