The resolution passed last night by the Security Council does not provide for automatic sanctions against Damascus.
There are at least two ways to read the resolution that the Security Council voted to supervise the destruction of the chemical weapons to Damascus . Positively, this text negotiated fought for several weeks, has been hailed as a major diplomatic breakthrough, including France and the United States. In fact, since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, in March 2011, the Security Council never did manage to agree on a text. The Russia and China vetoed three times, causing a blockage that began to hurt the credibility of the UN . Significant, too, the message sent by the international community on nonproliferation. In Paris, the loop is repeated – “firmness paid” – remembering that there are three more weeks, the regime of Bashar al-Assad denied the very existence of its chemical weapons.
To be passed, the UN resolution should first be “nested” in an agreement of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which will be the operator of disarmament in Syria. This roadmap has been validated OPCW in The Hague, in which the organization, a few hours before the vote of the Security Council. A supervision mission of the UN leaving Damascus Monday. It will be replaced by the experts of the OPCW whose “roadmap” provides for the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles by mid-2014.
Another way to consider the resolution on chemical disarmament is to emphasize that it will not be prejudging the end of a war that, in two and a half years, has some 120,000 dead and millions displaced. “Chemical weapons are not the problem,” says one Western diplomat saying that the resolution reflects mainly concern converge United States and Russia to prevent Western military strikes that loomed after etching 21 August.
Possibility of Blocking
In this regard, Washington and Moscow have every reason to be satisfied with a compromise which, in its formulation, confirms the considerable plasticity of diplomatic language. The draft resolution which the Security Council vote was not under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and a possible use of sanctions or even force, which would have been unthinkable for Russia. The text merely to refer to it. The document stipulates that the Security Council “decides, in case of non-compliance with this resolution (…) to impose measures under Chapter VII.” This statement was a requirement of the West. She appeared in the US-Russian Agreement of 14 September and was put forward by François Hollande in the gallery of the United Nations on Tuesday. “Our requirements have been met,” may therefore congratulate Laurent Fabius. In terms of display, only. Because the text does not specify what “measures” proposed and do not impose automatic sanctions, a crucial point for Moscow.
“The spirit of Chapter VII” may be present, as they say at the Elysee, but not the letter. “We have not sold,” has also squawked Friday Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
If violations are found, the Security Council would have to vote on a second resolution, which leaves Moscow a say and a possibility of deadlock. While arguing does one at the Quai d’Orsay, “after a first resolution, it would be politically more difficult for Russia to veto a second text if deficiencies were found.”
On another “requirement” French – the judgment of guilty of chemical attacks – he had to find accommodation with Russia. The draft resolution does not explicitly mention the chemical bombing of 21 August, and keep blaming the regime in Damascus. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is not mentioned. “Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria must answer for their actions,” merely states the text.
A compromise on the chemical weapons it may facilitate progress towards a political solution? The resolution refers in particular to the Geneva Agreement of 1 June 30, 2012 and “the establishment of a transitional government with the full executive powers.” Laurent Fabius Friday hoped that a date can be fixed the same evening to hold the peace conference in Geneva 2. “There is an emergency, the war continues and policy options are scarce,” confided one in the entourage of Francois Hollande, referring to the risk of a “disconnect between the diplomatic process and the situation on the ground.”
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