UNITED NATIONS — UN diplomats said Thursday that the five permanent members of the divided Security Council appear to have reached agreement on a resolution to require Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpiles.
Their comments came a day after Russia's deputy foreign minister said negotiators had overcome a major hurdle and agreed that the resolution would include a reference to Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which allows for military and nonmilitary actions to promote peace and security.
The five veto-wielding members of the Security Council have been discussing what to include in a new resolution requiring that Syria's chemical weapons be secured and dismantled. The U.S. and Russia had been at odds on how to enforce the resolution.
The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations have been private.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Thursday said a few subjects needed to be refined on an agreement but expressed optimism about a deal. "Things have advanced," he told reporters.
As discussions continued in the UN, in Moscow a Foreign Ministry official said Russia was willing to provide troops to guard facilities where Syria's chemical weapons would be destroyed, as UN inspectors prepared to continue their probe on the use of such agents in the country's civil war.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia was ready to ensure security and help guard facilities, once the chemical weapons were stored for destruction in Syria. He emphasized that Moscow would not accept the Syrian chemical weapons being dismantled in Russian territory.
"We believe that it should be dismantled on Syrian territory," Ryabkov said, Russian news agencies reported. "We undoubtedly will not deal with it. We believe that the process of its destruction could be efficiently organized on the territory of Syria."
Meanwhile, a team of UN inspectors was back in Syria to investigate three alleged incidents of chemical weapons use earlier this year. They will also seek information on three other attacks last month that allegedly included chemical agents. The inspectors were seen leaving their Damascus hotel in a vehicle convoy Thursday afternoon, but there was no immediate indication where they were going.
The UN inspectors first came to Damascus last month to probe a March 19 attack and two other incidents in the north when an alleged chemical attack occurred outside the Syrian capital. They returned to Syria on Wednesday.
The Aug. 21 incident in the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus became their focus after the U.S. and its allies said Assad's troops were responsible for the chemical attack that killed hundreds. The U.S. threatened punitive strikes; Assad's government denied the allegations and said the rebels were behind the Ghouta attack.