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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid