Last updated: 26 September, 2013

France sees advances on UN Syria resolution

Talks are making progress on a UN Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons including coercive measures to ensure compliance, France said Thursday.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who took part Wednesday in a meeting of the five veto-wielding powers, said that negotiations “have progressed overall” and he hoped for a resolution “soon.”

But Fabius also said there remain “some issues to clarify” before adoption of a resolution on ending Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal.

“France’s demands have been satisfied at this point,” Fabius told reporters.

France has been seeking a reference to the UN Charter’s Chapter VII which makes the resolution obligatory for a country.

But diplomats say that the Security Council resolution will not threaten military force or sanctions but instead will mention the possibility of future action if Syria does not comply.

Russia, the main ally of Assad, has resisted references to Chapter VII, calling it a pretext to war.

France has also demanded accountability for crimes in Syria and language calling the use of chemical weapons an attack on international security, which would give the Security Council power to act.

“On these three points things have moved forward,” Fabius said.

The UN Security Council is working on a resolution to accompany a US-Russia agreement under which Assad would give up his chemical stockpile.

The deal put on hold threatened military action by the United States and France in response to an August 21 chemical attack which US intelligence says killed more than 1,400 people in suburban Damascus.