News / Middle East

UN to Vote on Syria's Chemical Arsenal

The United Nations Security Council conducts a meeting on small arms, Sept. 26, 2013 at U.N. headquarters in New York.
The United Nations Security Council conducts a meeting on small arms, Sept. 26, 2013 at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Margaret Besheer
— The U.N. Security Council will likely adopt a strong resolution Friday night that will set out the framework for how Syria will eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal. If adopted, the resolution would end more than two years of paralysis in the Security Council on Syria.

The breakthrough in the 15-nation council came late Thursday, when the U.S. and Russia reached agreement on the specifics of how this plan would be implemented.
The text was then circulated to the full council.

A vote is expected Friday evening. The council is waiting on a decision from the executive board of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the international body that will supervise the verification and destruction of Syria's arsenal. The Hague-based OPCW is expected to vote late Friday.

Its decision will be incorporated as an annex into the legally binding Security Council resolution.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters after Thursday evening's council meeting that the proposed resolution would impose obligations on Syria's government to eliminate its chemical weapons program.

“This resolution will require the destruction of a category of weapons that the Syrian government has used ruthlessly and repeatedly against its own people. And this resolution will make clear that there are going to be consequences for non-compliance,” she said.

Those consequences include a reference to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes provisions for sanctions and military action. But such action would not be automatic if Syria fails to meet its commitments, it would require the Security Council to meet and agree a new resolution with reprisals.

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis more than two years ago, Russia has blocked any strong action against Syria. But British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the new cooperation in the council, spurred by the horrendous chemical weapons attack on August 21 near Damascus that killed hundreds, should make Syria's president think twice.

“If President Assad felt that he could hide behind certain members of the Security Council, because there could not be unity in the Security Council, he will now need to think again,” he said.

Meanwhile, a team of U.N. scientific experts returned to Damascus Wednesday. They are there to investigate allegations of seven other reported poison gas attacks.

The U.N. said the team, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, expects to finalize its activities in Syria by Monday. They are collecting documents, biomedical and environmental samples and conducting interviews with witnesses and survivors.

In a report earlier this month, the inspectors concluded there was “overwhelming” evidence that the August 21 attack used poison gas. Western countries said their intelligence pointed to Syrian government forces as being the perpetrators, but the Assad government said its armed opponents carried out the attack.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid