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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid