The United Nations Security Council members vote unanimously to adopt a resolution aimed at ridding war-torn Syria of chemical weapons, at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 27, 2013. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Friday voted unanimously to adopt a resolution aimed at ridding war-torn Syria of chemical weapons.
The vote came after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an international chemical watchdog, agreed on a plan to destroy Syria's stockpile by mid-2014.
Earlier this month, a UN fact-finding group confirmed the use of chemical weapons in an attack outside the Syrian capital of Damascus on Aug. 21, but did not state who was responsible.
The new binding resolution condemned the use of chemical weapons, but also did not attribute blame, stating that the UN Security Council "is deeply outraged" by the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict and that "the use of chemical weapons anywhere constitutes a threat to international peace and security."
The document has two legally binding demands: Syria abandon its weapons stockpile, and chemical weapons experts be given unfettered access.
The resolution states: "The Security Council decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall not use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to other States or non-State actors."
The Security Council, it added, also "underscores that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons."
The resolution requires Syria to comply with the plan adopted by the OPCW, whose staff formed part of the UN inspection team probing the use of chemical weapons.
Following the late-night adoption of the plan, the OPCW said in a statement that its executive council had "agreed on an accelerated program for achieving the complete elimination of Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014."
"The decision requires inspections in Syria to commence from 1 October 2013," said the statement. "The decision also calls for ambitious milestones for destruction which will be set by the (executive) council by 15 November."
Speaking at the Security Council shortly after the vote, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the new resolution, saying: "Today's historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time."
"For many months, I have said that the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria would require a firm, united response," he added. "Tonight, the international community has delivered."
DAMASCUS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The UN chemical weapons investigation team continued on Friday its probing mission in Syria and is set to finish their second round of investigation on Monday, according to a statement obtained by Xinhua.
"The United Nations mission investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria on Friday continued working on a comprehensive report that is expected to be ready by late October, " the statement said. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday that China hoped to see an early launch of international verification and destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons and an early end to the Syrian crisis.
Wang made the statement when he was meeting with Walid Muallem, Syrian deputy prime minister and foreign minister, on the sidelines of the annual high-level debate of the UN General Assembly, which entered its fourth day here Friday. Full story