WASHINGTON (AFP) – The UN Security Council must be prepared to agree to a binding resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons next week, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.
A “definitive” UN report had proven that the Syrian regime was behind an August chemical weapons attack, Kerry said.
“Now the test comes. The Security Council must be prepared to act next week. It is vital for the international community to stand up and speak out,” he added.
Kerry is leaving Sunday to join world leaders gathering in New York for the annual UN General Assembly set to be dominated by the civil war in Syria.
“I would say to the community of nations, time is short. Let’s not spend time debating what we already know,” Kerry pleaded.
“Instead, we have to recognize that the world is watching to see whether we can avert military action and achieve through peaceful means” the destruction of Syria’s chemical arms stocks, he said.
“The complete removal of Syria’s chemical weapons is possible here, through peaceful means,” he insisted.
Russia has backed Syrian claims that it was the opposition rebels who were behind the August 21 sarin gas attack in which Washington says some 1,400 Syrians were killed.
“We really don’t have time today to pretend that anyone can have their own set of facts, approaching the issue of chemical weapons in Syria. This fight about Syria’s chemical weapons is not a game,” Kerry said, addressing reporters in a surprise statement.
Under a deal drawn up with the Russians in non-stop talks late last week in Geneva, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to make a full declaration of his chemical weapons stockpile by this weekend.
The aim is to turn the weapons over to international control with the goal of destroying them by mid-2014.
“We need everyone’s help in order to see that the Security Council lives up to its founding values and passes a binding resolution that codifies the strongest possible mechanism to achieve the goal and achieve it rapidly,” Kerry added.