KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday he had reached an agreement with his Russian counterpart on a draft U.N. resolution aimed at identifying the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
“We also talked about the UN Resolution and indeed
I believe reached an agreement that should try to see that resolution voted on shortly, which will create a process of accountability which has been missing,” Kerry told reporters after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a regional forum in Malaysia.
Diplomats say the United Nations Security Council is likely to vote on Friday on a U.S. proposal to ask U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and the global chemical weapons watchdog to assemble a team of investigators to lay blame for toxic gas attacks in Syria.
Attributing responsibility for chemical weapons attacks would pave the way for action by the 15-member Security Council. The body has already threatened consequences for such attacks, which could include sanctions.
Officials say Kerry and Lavrov reached agreement on the draft resolution during talks in Malaysia on Wednesday.
Russia - which has veto power on the U.N. council - is an ally of Syria and has protected President Bashar al-Assad’s government from any U.N. action during the four-year civil war. The United States began discussing the draft resolution with Russia several months ago.
Several diplomats in New York, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a vote would likely be scheduled for Friday as no council member raised objections before a 10 a.m. EDT deadline on Thursday to file complaints about the draft.
Reporting by David Brunnstrom, additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in New York; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Frances Kerry