WASHINGTON, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – A United Nations Security Council resolution on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons will refer to – but not automatically trigger – military action to enforce Syria’s compliance with a US-Russian deal to destroy its arsenal, The Associated Press (AP) cited a Russian diplomat as saying Wednesday.
Washington has pushed for a resolution based on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows for military action to promote peace, though Russian officials have repeatedly called this unacceptable.
But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the text of the resolution would include a reference to Chapter 7, though noncompliance by Syria would not automatically trigger the use of force, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
An agreement on the text of the resolution is likely in the next two days, the AP cited Gatilov as saying.
His comments emerged almost simultaneously with conflicting reports from diplomats Wednesday about the state of the negotiations over the Security Council resolution.
Reuters cited two Western diplomats as saying that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council had agreed on the core of a resolution.
The agreement came after the foreign ministers from the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain met Wednesday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Reuters cited the diplomats as saying on condition of anonymity.
But the spokesman for Russia’s UN delegation told Reuters that this is “wishful thinking” by the Western diplomats.
“It is not the reality,” the news agency cited the spokesman as saying. “The work on the draft resolution is still going on.”
The draft resolution could be presented to the full 15-nation Security Council “soon,” Reuters cited the two Western diplomats as saying, adding that the five permanent members – who each hold veto power – would meet Friday for talks on possible peace negotiations in Geneva between the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebel forces seeking to topple him.
Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, told the AP that he expects remaining differences over the text of the resolution to be resolved “in the next few days.”
The administration of US President Barack Obama has accused Assad’s government of responsibility for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that Washington claims left more than 1,400 dead.
Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly suggested in recent weeks that they have evidence showing the attack was likely carried out by Syrian rebels seeking to frame Assad in order to secure outside military intervention against government forces.
After weeks of intense diplomacy and an almost three-day-long marathon of talks in Geneva between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, Moscow and Washington reached a breakthrough agreement earlier this month to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control for eventual destruction.
The Obama administration has insisted that a Security Council resolution must include the option of military action against Syria should Assad’s government fail to abide by the deal. It has also said it reserves the right to conduct military strikes against Syria independent of the UN.
A US official told Reuters that negotiations were continuing. “We’re making progress but we’re not done yet,” Reuters cited the official as saying.