Turkey welcomes draft resolution on Syria

Turkey welcomes draft resolution on Syria

Turkey welcomes draft resolution on Syria

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has welcomed a draft resolution of the U.N. Security Council to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

The resolution itself is important, Davutoğlu said Sept. 27, since the Security Council has considered the Syrian crisis as an issue which threatens peace and security. Henceforth, the Syrian problem would be in front of the Council, the minister said in a televised interview. The resolution is a “text which would pave the way for implementation,” he noted.

The text says the council “decides in the event of non-compliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.” It says the council would “promptly” consider measures if the world chemical weapons watchdog or U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon reported a breach of a Russia-U.S. disarmament plan.

Chapter seven can allow sanctions or military force. But diplomats said there would have to be a new vote for any action and predicted there would be a fierce new debate with Russia. Davutoğlu welcomed a reference to Chapter VII and appraised that the draft resolution does not ignore “earlier crimes” in Syria. “There is accountability in the resolution,” he said. “The draft said ‘those who commuted this crime will be brought to account.’” However, Davutoğlu expressed his dissatisfaction on “humanitarian dimension” of the resolution, concerning which he said Turkey has submitted some proposals.

Any action would be “proportionate to the gravity of the violation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency as he welcomed the draft resolution. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held hastily scheduled talks on Sept. 26 afternoon to resolve several last-minute disputes on the text.

Underlining the importance of a political solution, Kerry said that Syria “will implode before any side would claim a military victory” and that all sides needed to move rapidly to put a political solution in place to end the conflict. A U.S. State Department official hailed the deal as a “breakthrough.”

“The Russians have agreed to support a strong, binding and enforceable resolution that unites the pressure and focus of the international community on the Syrian regime to ensure the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons,” the official said.

U.S., Russian, French and British diplomats told reporters the vote could come as early as Sept. 27 evening, provided the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague approves a plan for the destruction of Syria’s poison gas arsenal beforehand.

Meanwhile, Davutoğlu said that he planned to meet family of Elif Yavuz who died in the mall attack in Kenya. “I will meet them in New York,” the minister said, adding that another Turkish citizen, among those abducted in the Kenya mall, was released.