US President Barack Obama said yesterday that the UN Security Council must agree to a resolution on Syrian chemical weapons that includes consequences for President Bashar Assad if he doesn’t meet demands to dismantle his stockpile.
Obama challenged the UN to include such accountability in any resolution, saying its reputation was at stake.
“If we cannot agree even on this,” he said, “then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws.”
Russia and the United States have brokered an agreement for Syria to give up its chemical weapons. But the countries are at odds on potential consequences if Syria doesn’t comply.
“We believe that as a starting point the international community must enforce the ban in international weapons,” Obama said in his address to the UN General Assembly.
The agreement between Washington and Moscow came as Obama was pushing Congress to approve action against Syria for a chemical weapons attack the US says was carried out by Assad’s regime.
Subsequent steps agreed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov put the threat of force on hold.