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US, Russia Fail to Agree on Syria Resolution

  • VOA News

John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov shake hands after conducting a bilateral meeting. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.

John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov shake hands after conducting a bilateral meeting. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.

The top diplomats from the United States and Russia held talks Tuesday on a draft U.N. resolution concerning Syria's chemical weapons but failed to agree on the key points of the document.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the Security Council resolution on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York.

U.S. officials say points of contention remain as the two sides seek a deal regarding the language of the resolution. The U.S. and Russian ambassadors to the U.N. are tasked with working out the final language.

Russia opposes a resolution that mentions Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, which includes the use of military and non-military action to enforce decisions.

The U.S. and Russia recently agreed to a deal that orders Syria to give up its chemical weapons stockpile, but a U.N. resolution is needed to enforce the agreement.

Russia has long opposed the idea of military intervention, and has vetoed three attempts to sanction Syria at the U.N. Security Council.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Tuesday the resolution could mention the Chapter VII article that permits force or sanctions only if the U.S.-Russia chemical weapons accord is violated by either side in the Syrian conflict.

Speaking at the General Assembly Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama criticized doubters who questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out a chemical attack last month near Damascus. U.S. intelligence says the attack killed 1,400 people.

Syria's civil war has forced 2 million people to flee the country and another 4.5 million have been displaced within Syria. In total, the conflict has forced more than a quarter of Syria's population to leave their homes.

Most of those who have fled have gone to neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
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