The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have agreed on the language of a resolution that would eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. The deal breaks a lengthy diplomatic stalemate and potentially averts a U.S. military strike backed by President Obama. The council could vote on the measure today. The deal comes just weeks after an apparently offhand remark by Secretary of State John Kerry about how Syria could avoid a military strike by quickly surrendering its chemical stockpiles. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said it establishes a “new international norm.”
Samantha Power: “This resolution will require the destruction of a category of weapons that the Syrian government has used ruthlessly and repeatedly against it’s own people. And this resolution will make clear there are going to be consequences for non-compliance. This is very significant. This is the first time since the Syrian conflict began two-and-a-half years ago that the Security Council has imposed binding obligations on Syria — binding obligations of any kind.”
According to The Washington Post, a confidential assessment by U.S. and Russian officials has found Syria’s entire arsenal could be destroyed in roughly nine months, with most of its stores consisting of “unweaponized” precursors.