U.N. chief may propose plan to destroy Syrian chemical weapons

NEW YORK, (PNA/Kyodo) — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Monday said he is considering asking the Security Council to back a possible proposal to demand that Syria destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons.

“I’m considering urging the Security Council to demand the immediate transfer of Syria’s chemical weapons and chemical precursor stocks to places inside Syria where they can be safely stored and destroyed,” Ban told reporters at a press conference, his first in New York since returning from the Group of 20 summit in Russia where the subject of Syria took center stage.

This comes on the heels of an earlier announcement that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed putting Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal under international control, according to a Reuters report.

Ban also expressed his frustration at the two and a half year crisis as the Security Council has been too divided to take united action, especially as Russia, a Syrian ally, along with China, has vetoed three resolutions. So far more than 110,000 have been killed.

“Two and a half years of conflict in Syria have produced only embarrassing paralysis in the Security Council,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the world awaits the results of a U.N. chemical weapons inspection team, which collected samples from the country after being dispatched to gather evidence from the suspected August 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb that the United States said killed more than 1,420 people.

“Should Dr. Sellestrom’s report confirm the use of chemical weapons, then this would surely be something around which the Security Council could unite in response — and indeed something that should merit universal condemnation,” he said, referring to Ake Sellestrom, who is leading the U.N. team and whose report is expected to be delivered to the 15 member council although a timeline has not been set.

If chemical weapons have been used Ban said it “would be an abominable crime, and the international community would certainly have to do something about it.”

He also stressed the need for accountability “both to bring to justice those who used them…and to deter anyone else from using these abhorrent methods of warfare.”