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UN powers make progress on Syria resolution: envoys

27 september 2013, 10:43
0
©AFP
©AFP
The world's major powers made important progress Wednesday on key points of a UN Security Council resolution on destroying Syria's chemical weapons, AFP reports citing envoys.

But more talks between US and Russian negotiators will be needed before there is a suggestion of sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad over his chemical arsenal, officials from the two sides said.

One UN diplomat said there was agreement on the "main points" of a draft resolution, noting the 15-member council could vote on a resolution that would allow for a new vote on sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if Assad fails to honor a Russian-US disarmament plan.

Without denying the account, a senior State Department official cautioned to AFP: "We're making progress but we're not done yet."

Russian sources also denied a deal had been done. "There are still some talks to be completed on some main points," one Russian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a Russian official who expressed "surprise" at the claims of allowing sanctions.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed a disarmament plan with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva earlier this month to head off a US threat of a military strike over a chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21.

The United States blames Assad for the attack which it said killed more than 1,400 people. The Syrian government and Russia deny that Assad's forces carried out the sarin gas attack.

Lavrov and Kerry held talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to push forward "paragraph by paragraph" with the resolution, which would make the disarmament plan legally enforceable, the senior US official said.

Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin and US counterpart Samantha Power held more negotiations late Tuesday and again on Wednesday, officials said.

Kerry, Lavrov, and foreign ministers from the other UN Security Council permanent members -- Britain, France and China -- held new discussions on the resolution at a lunch with UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday.

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