PARIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - France, Britain and the United States agreed at three-way Paris talks on Monday to seek a “strong and robust” U.N. resolution that sets precise and binding deadlines on removal of chemical weapons, the office of French President Francois Hollande said.
The statement followed talks involving the foreign ministers of the three countries and Hollande in the French capital, two days after Russia and the United States hammered out a deal on chemical weapons that could avert U.S. military action.
“The idea is to stick to a firm line,” said an official at Hollande’s office after the talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
“They’ve agreed to seek a strong and rubust resolution that sets precise and binding deadlines with a calendar,” said the official, who declined to be named.
Overcoming bitter differences, Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov struck a deal in Geneva on Saturday on removal of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal, in a move that may avert U.S. military action.
After months in which Moscow and Washington failed to agree a line on Syria, Kerry and Lavrov demanded Assad account for his secret stockpile within a week and let international inspectors eliminate all the weapons by the middle of next year.
Under the terms of the U.S.-Russian agreement, the U.N. Security Council - on which Russia has a veto - will oversee the process.
The agreement states that a Security Council resolution should allow for regular assessments of Syria’s behaviour and “in the event of non-compliance ... the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter”.
Chapter VII can include force but can be limited to other kinds of sanction. When Kerry said the council “must” impose measures under Chapter VII, Lavrov interrupted to point out that the agreed text says only it “should” impose penalties.
The French official said the goal was to get quick agreement on a resolution at U.N. headquarters. “We must make progress in New York,” said the official, adding that the hope was to come up with something that could be put to a vote before the end of this week.