The U.N. Meets Next Week. Can They Agree on Syria’s Chemical Weapons?

Matt Vasilogambros, National Journal
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Vasilogambros, National Journal
Sept. 20, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

The U.N. Gen­er­al As­sembly con­venes next week, and Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry is not tak­ing any chances on Syr­ia.

As world lead­ers con­verge on New York on Wed­nes­day, the U.S. will press the U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil to fi­nal­ize a mech­an­ism to find and des­troy Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al-weapons stock­pile, a deal that Kerry and Rus­si­an For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lav­rov agreed to over the week­end. But while there was an agree­ment between these two na­tions, they still re­main di­vided over the fun­da­ment­al point that led to this agree­ment, and pre­vi­ously a mil­it­ary threat from the U.S.: who was re­spons­ible for a chem­ic­al-weapons at­tack that killed more than 1,000 people.

The find­ings from a U.N. re­port re­leased this week “were as cat­egor­ic­al as they were con­vin­cing” that the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment—and not op­pos­i­tion fight­ers—car­ried out the at­tack, Kerry said from the State De­part­ment on Thursday. While Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar al-As­sad said in an in­ter­view with Fox News on Thursday that he had not read the U.N. re­port and could not com­ment on it, Rus­sia has already lam­basted it, call­ing it biased and in­com­plete.

Des­pite this dis­agree­ment, any sort of fi­nal­ized plan re­gard­ing Syr­ia’s weapons is de­pend­ent on co­oper­a­tion from the Se­cur­ity Coun­cil, and more spe­cific­ally between the U.S. and Rus­sia.

But Kerry’s com­ments were not only a warn­ing to Rus­sia and the rest of the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity, they also served as a flat-out re­but­tal to As­sad’s com­ments since the at­tack. Kerry said, “This fight about Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons is not a game,” and the U.N. must act.

“I would say to the com­munity of na­tions, time is short,” he said. “Let’s not spend time de­bat­ing what we already know. In­stead, we have to re­cog­nize that the world is watch­ing to see wheth­er we can avert mil­it­ary ac­tion and achieve through peace­ful means even more than what those mil­it­ary strikes prom­ised.”

And while Syr­ia and Rus­sia have blamed pre­vi­ous chem­ic­al-weapons at­tacks on the op­pos­i­tion fight­ers, whom As­sad has dubbed “ter­ror­ists,” Kerry said Thursday that “there’s not a shred of evid­ence” that the op­pos­i­tion has the cap­ab­il­it­ies to carry out such an at­tack.

 

What We're Following See More »
WILL TEST THE NORTH’S STANDDOWN
Joint U.S., South Korea War Games Set to Begin
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new cycle of escalation on the Korean Peninsula looks set to begin this week when the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging Pyongyang." The long-planned drills, set to last ten days, "will test whether North Korea’s apparent easing of its immediate threat to Guam proves durable—or if the de-escalation was really a backdown at all."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
4 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login