UN powers hold new Syria chemical talks

UN powers hold new Syria chemical talks

UNITED NATIONS - The five UN Security Council powers held new talks Wednesday on a resolution backing a Russia-US plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, diplomats said.

Western nations, which say they are not looking for an immediate threat of force against President Bashar al-Assad, could seek a Security Council vote this weekend if agreement can be reached with Russia.

UN envoys from the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China held two hours of talks at the US mission. They were the second negotiations since Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry agreed a plan on Saturday to put Syria's banned chemical arms under international control.

"There is no accord yet, there will be more negotiations," said a UN diplomat. The United States, Britain and France remain far apart from Russia, Assad's last ally, on how to end the 30-month-old war.

The Geneva accord headed off the immediate threat of a US military strike over an August 21 chemical weapon attack near Damascus in which hundreds died.

Western powers blame Assad for the attack. Russia backs the Damascus government in blaming opposition rebels.

A Security Council resolution is becoming pressing, however, as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) executive is expected to meet Friday to approve the Russia-US plan.

And the Geneva plan will face its first big test on Saturday which is the one week deadline announced by Russia and the United States for Assad to provide a list of his chemical facilities.

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