News / Middle East

Weapons Watchdog Group Approves Syria Disarmament Plan

Spokesman Michael Luhan gives a brief statement outside the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, in The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 27, 2013.
Spokesman Michael Luhan gives a brief statement outside the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, in The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 27, 2013.
VOA News
An international chemical weapons watchdog group has approved a disarmament plan for Syria.

The decision by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons late Friday paves the way for the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution making the plan legally binding.

The Security Council is expected to vote on the resolution later Friday.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told VOA Syria will support the resolution "as long as it is according to our commitment when we joined the agreement."  He said the Syrian government is "seriously committed to fulfill[ing] our obligations."

The United States and Russia agreed Thursday on the language of the Security Council resolution, following weeks of talks about how to ensure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad complies with the disarmament plan.

The draft resolution gives inspectors access to Syria's chemical weapons sites but does not threaten military force.

Russia, an ally of Assad's government, had opposed the inclusion of military action or sanctions should Syria fail to comply.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama called the resolution a "huge victory" for the international community.  He said it is a "legally binding" and "verifiable" initiative that threatens consequences if Syria does not adhere to conditions.

The resolution calls for inspections within 30 days at all chemical weapons sites declared by Syria's government.  International experts are supposed to begin inspecting Syria's chemical arsenal by Tuesday

The resolution also requires Assad to give up his chemical weapons by mid-2014.

In violence Friday, activists said a car bomb killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens in the town of Rankus, just north of Damascus.  Rankus is a Sunni town in a region mostly under control of rebels trying to overthrow Assad's government.

The conflict in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people.

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