US, Russia agree on Syria chemicals weapons draft: US official

US, Russia agree on Syria chemicals weapons draft: US official

US, Russia agree on Syria chemicals weapons draft: US official

Annie Sparrow (R), Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, speaks during a hearing convened by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington, DC on June 17, 2015, to examine the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime. AFP Photo

The United States and Russia have reached agreement on a draft U.N. resolution aimed at identifying those behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria in order to bring them to justice, a U.S. official said on August 6. 

The United Nations Security Council is likely to vote on August 7 on a U.S. proposal to ask U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and the global chemical weapons watchdog to assemble a team of investigators to lay blame for toxic gas attacks in Syria, diplomats said. 

Attributing responsibility for chemical weapons attacks would pave the way for action by the 15-member Security Council. The body has already threatened consequences for such attacks, which could include sanctions. 

A U.S. official, who did not want to be identified, said an agreement had been reached on the draft between the United States and Russia. 

Officials say the agreement was finalized during talks in Malaysia on August 5 between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. 

Russia - which has veto power on the U.N. council - is a Syrian ally and has protected President Bashar al-Assad's government from any U.N. action during the four-year civil war. The United States began discussing the draft resolution with Russia several months ago. 

Several diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that if no objections to the draft were raised by any council members by August 6 morning, then a vote would likely be scheduled for August 7.