UN Security Council takes decisive action on Syria

Media release

28 September 2013

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today welcomed the United Nations Security Council's unanimous adoption of a resolution to eradicate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.

"This is an historic resolution and a significant breakthrough in the Council's response to the tragic crisis in Syria," Ms Bishop said.

"With Australia as a Council member and as current Council President, Syria was a key focus of my discussions in New York this week. It is the most urgent humanitarian challenge facing the world today," Ms Bishop said.

The Security Council resolution imposes binding and enforceable obligations on Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons. The resolution makes clear that Syria must cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations to achieve this.

This is the first time since the conflict began in March 2011 that the Council has agreed to place legally binding obligations on Syria. The resolution also sends a clear message that the use of chemical weapons, by anyone, anywhere, for any reason, is a threat to international peace and security.

"This outcome reflects the intense diplomatic effort behind the scenes this week in New York, and before that in Geneva," Ms Bishop said.

"It is important that we now build on this positive momentum – and a key immediate priority must be the humanitarian situation. Australia and Luxembourg will shortly circulate a Security Council text which will set out specific actions which all parties in Syria must take to address the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people," she said.

The Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, also told the Security Council meeting that he was now aiming to convene the Syrian parties for talks on a political transition in mid-November.

"We hope that today's outcome marks a real turning point. Ultimately, only a credible negotiation that leads to a genuine political transition in Syria can end the fighting and prevent further loss of life," Ms Bishop said.

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