Security Council Nears Syria Agreement That Doesn’t Include Military Force

Body would reconvene if Syria fails to relinquish chemical weapons

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Update 9:35 p.m. ET: Reuters has the full text of the resolution agreed upon by the U.S. and Russia on Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpiles. The resolution is expected to reach the full Security Council as early as Friday evening, per the AP.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed Thursday to require Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons, but the draft resolution they approved does not promise military action if the country fails to comply.

Under pressure from the Russians, who support Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, the text of the resolution does not include immediate military consequences for noncompliance, the Associated Press reports. Instead, Security Council members will reconvene to consider potential force if Syria fails to comply.

The full 15-member Security Council will discuss the measure Thursday night. The agreement follows a preliminary one brokered by Russian and American diplomats to forestall American military intervention in the war-torn country.

A senior State Department official told TIME:

This is a breakthrough arrived at through hard-fought diplomacy. Just two weeks ago, no one thought this was in the vicinity of possible. After close consultation with the P3, the Russians have agreed to support a strong, binding and enforceable resolution that unites the pressure and focus of the international community on the Syrian regime to ensure the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.

This is historic and unprecedented because it puts oversight of the Assad regime’s compliance under international control, and it’s the first [U.N. Security Council resolution] to declare that the use of chemical weapons is a threat to peace and security. Equally as important, it makes absolutely clear that failure of the Assad regime to comply will have consequences. Later this evening there will be closed consultations of the full Security Council to discuss the text.

 Zeke J. Miller contributed reporting

[Associated Press]