Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

World powers 'closer' on Syria arms

Ban Ki-moon and John Kerry at the UN General Assembly (AP/David Karp)

Britain, the US, Russia, France and China may be edging closer to agreeing a United Nations Security Council resolution designed to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

The permanent members of the security council have been working tentatively on the text and are hoping that a draft of the resolution may be presented to the full council for approval.

It comes after American and Russian officials met for talks at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in New York.

US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who met for nearly 90 minutes, were unable to agree the text of a resolution.

There were differences between US and Russian diplomats over the wording of the resolution intended to hold President Bashar Assad's regime responsible if it fails to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpile as pledged.

Although a resolution by the so-called P5 core members has yet to be finalised, negotiators have been poring over the possible draft text.

It is understood that foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the security council earlier met UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

In his address to the security council on Tuesday, US president Barack Obama called for consensus.

"If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws," he said.

Further discussions will be held on Friday to discuss a proposed peace conference on Syria to be held in Geneva next month.

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