by William M. Reilly
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Russia and the United States agreed late Thursday on a U.N. Security Council draft resolution to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria.
Ambassadors Mark Lyall Grant of Britain, Vitaly Churkin of Russia and Samantha Power of the United States emerged from a nearly 90-minute late evening closed-door session of all 15 council members to say they expected the draft resolution to be approved as early as later on Friday.
The Security Council breakthrough came after nearly two weeks of fast-moving diplomatic developments, involving Russia and the United States.
However they said action was still needed by the executive board of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to which Syria only joined last week.
The tentative agreement worked out Thursday night "is something that is giving good support for the work which will need to be taken by the Syrians, by the OPCW, by the United Nations, by all the interested parties which will be contributing to this process," Churkin said.
"We were also able to include in this draft, endorsement of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012," he said, "For a variety of reasons after that communique was adopted, the Security Council was not able to endorse it in a resolution. Now we have succeeded in doing that."
The Russian envoy also said the draft calls for "convening as soon as possible an international conference on Syria, Geneva II, and the work on that track is continuing very actively as well."
"We hope the (Council's draft) resolution will be adopted soon, maybe even tomorrow (Friday) night," he said, "It will depend on a decision of the executive board of the OPCW" on whether it will be able "to adopt its decision on this matter by the time we could convene tomorrow night to have (the council) resolution adopted."
The U.N. Secretariat later announced consultations had been scheduled for Friday on "The Situation in the Middle East," which would cover the Syria chemical weapons question.