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UN’s 5 key players agree on Syria disarmament resolution

Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China have reached a deal on a legally binding resolution to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council reached a deal on Thursday for a legally binding resolution to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China came to an agreement after days of intense negotiations.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met personally with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Thursday afternoon to finalize the details.

“We did reach agreement with respect to the resolution; we’re now doing final work putting that language together,” Kerry said after the meeting.

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According to the Washington Post, Kerry expressed hope that “this resolution can now give life hopefully to the removal and destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.”

In a concession to Russia, the resolution does not include any threat of enforcement through sanctions or military action, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“I think we reached an understanding with the US,” Lavrov told reporters Thursday night at UN headquarters.

The agreement is seen as a major step in the deadlock that has gripped the United Nations over how to intervene in Syria.

China or Russia have blocked three attempts to issue Western-backed resolutions in the past two and a half years.

The resolution will likely be shared with the full 15-member Council on Friday.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, tweeted on Thursday that the draft resolution created a “new norm” against the use of chemical weapons.

Power also said that the resolution would invoke Chapter VII of the UN charter, which allows for measures including economic sanctions or even military action. 

But any action would require another round of negotiations in the Security Council, which would likely be vetoed again by Russia.

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The resolution also does not name the Syrian government as the perpetrator behind the Aug. 21 chemical-weapons attack outside Damascus that killed as many as 1,400 civilians, according to US estimates.

The text calls for those responsible — whoever they are — to be held accountable, but without referring them for prosecution by the International Criminal Court, which the BBC calls a “significant weakening” from previous drafts.