UNITED NATIONS: Envoys from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — the permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council — met Wednesday on the crisis surrounding Syria’s chemical weapons.
“Everyone set out their position but there were no real negotiations,” a UN diplomat said after the 45-minute closed-door talks, which were held at Russia’s UN mission.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said earlier that the failure to halt atrocities in war-torn Syria had stained the reputation of the world body and the Security Council powers.
On Tuesday, France, Britain and the United States had pressed for a Council resolution that would impose tough consequences should Damascus fail to hand over control of its banned chemical weapons.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it would be “unacceptable” for the 15-nation Council to pass a text that puts the blame on President Bashar al-Assad for an August 21 attack in the Damascus suburbs.
A Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday was canceled at the last minute at Moscow’s request.
France has indicated it is ready to modify, within limits, its draft resolution but intends to keep the military option on the table as a means of pressuring the Assad regime.
At Russia’s urging, Damascus has said it wants to put its arsenal of chemical weapons under international supervision in compliance with the 1993 convention banning the weapons.
Russia has provided the United States with a plan for controlling the weapons, to be discussed Thursday in Geneva by the US and Russian foreign ministers, according to a Russian government source. (AFP)