UK & World News
Syria Chemical Weapons: UN Resolution Passed
A "historic" resolution to destroy Syria's chemical weapons has been passed unanimously by the United Nations Security Council.
All 15 members of the council voted in favour of the resolution, which was widely seen as a compromise between the US and Syria's key ally, Russia.
The vote after two weeks of intense negotiations marks a major breakthrough following two and a half years of paralysis that has gripped the council since the Syrian uprising began.
More than 100,000 Syrians have been killed during that time while millions have been displaced.
Russia and China previously vetoed three Western-backed resolutions pressuring President Bashar Assad's regime to end the violence.
Speaking immediately after the vote, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council: "Today's historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time."
Foreign Secretary William Hague described the development as "ground-breaking".
"The failure of the council to tackle the crimes committed on a daily basis has resulted in a culture of impunity in which a brutal regime believed it could get away with murdering its own men, women and children," he said.
"So it is vital that the council now builds on the consensus we have reached today to make progress today towards a sustainable resolution of the crisis.
"With renewed purpose and resolve, we need to achieve a political transition."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the "strong, enforceable, precedent-setting" resolution showed diplomacy can be so powerful "that it can peacefully defuse the worst weapons of war."
He said the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile would begin in November and be completed by the middle of next year.
For the first time, the council endorsed the roadmap for a political transition in Syria adopted by key nations in June 2012 and called for an international conference to be convened "as soon as possible" to implement it.
Mr Ban said the target date for a new peace conference in Geneva was mid-November.
The resolution calls for consequences if Syria fails to comply, but those will depend on the council passing another resolution in the event of non-compliance.
That will give Assad ally Russia the means to stop any punishment from being imposed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the resolution does not automatically impose sanctions on Syria.