Tánaiste says UN-Syria vote on resolution to destroy weapons a 'watershed'

Saturday 28 September 2013 22.11
The deal breaks a two-and-a-half year deadlock in the UN over Syria
The deal breaks a two-and-a-half year deadlock in the UN over Syria

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said the United Nations Security Council adoption of a binding resolution to destroy Syria's chemical weapons marks a "watershed" in the international community's engagement on the crisis.

Mr Gilmore was addressing the UN General Assembly in New York tonight.

He said Ireland has consistently argued that the UN and the Security Council must be central to any efforts to resolve this crisis.

He added that "while it has taken much longer than we would all have wished", he welcomed the decisive action.

The UNSC earlier today voted unanimously in favour of the draft resolution.

The vote by the 15-member council ends weeks of intense diplomacy between Russia and the US.

It breaks more than two years of UN deadlock over Syria, where fighting between government forces and rebels rages on.

Speaking after the vote in New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said it was a "historic" decision.

Mr Ban also said an international peace conference on Syria is planned for mid-November

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the UN Security Council would be prepared to take punitive steps in the event of confirmed violations of the resolution.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore is also due to meet the UN Secretary General.

Their talks are expected to focus on the ongoing conflict in Syria and the Middle East peace process as well as world poverty.