France, Britain and US to seek 'robust' UN Syria resolution
Foreign ministers of three nations hold joint press conference in Paris as UN reads report
FRANCE, Britain and the US have agreed to seek a "strong and robust" UN resolution setting binding deadlines for Syria to remove its chemical weapons. The agreement follows talks in Paris involving foreign ministers from the three nations and France's president, Francois Hollande.
William Hague, the foreign secretary, was briefed today on the draft agreement written by US secretary of state John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva. The two men were later joined by Hollande for a press conference.
Hollande yesterday welcomed the US-Russia deal on Syria as an "important step" but urged that the "military option must remain" or there "will be no pressure" on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, said the BBC.
In other developments:
UN inspectors report back: The UN weapons inspectors who visited the site of the alleged gas attack in Syria handed over their report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last night, says Sky News. The report is due to be presented to a closed session of the UN Security Council today. The team, led by Swede Ake Sellstrom, was charged with finding out if chemical weapons had been used - and if so, which weapons - but not asked to attribute responsibility for the attack.
Syrian opposition rejects Geneva deal: The main opposition group to Syria's ruler Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian National Coalition, this morning rejected the US-Russia chemical weapons deal agreed in Geneva, reports The Guardian. The group expressed alarm that the agreement does not threaten force for non-compliance or insist those responsible for chemical attacks are prosecuted.
Obama says Iran could help: US president Barack Obama, speaking to ABC television, has raised the prospect of Iran playing an active role in broader talks on the future of Syria, if the republic recognises "that what's happening there is a train wreck that hurts not just Syrians but is destabilising the entire region". Obama may meet Iran's president Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly next week. ·