The foreign ministers of France, Britain and the United States are in Paris to begin drafting a resolution on Syria's chemical weapons, which will then be put to the UN security council. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, will release the long-awaited report of UN weapons inspectors into last month's deadly gas attack on a suburb of Damascus.
Speaking on ABC radio, Carnegie Moscow Center’s Petr Topychkanov explained that at the moment there are two important preconditions for the joint efforts of the United States and Russia to succeed. The first, very difficult, precondition is to attain ceasefire between Bashar al-Assad’s armed forces and the opposition. The second challenge is to discover and destroy all chemical weapons in Syria.
In order to avoid possible U.S. suspicion over Russian intentions in Syria, Topychkanov expressed his belief that all operations leading to the elimination of Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons will have to be undertaken in a transparent and verifiable manner and, most importantly, under UN auspices and in line with UN resolutions.
In case Syria does not accept all obligations and the UN conditions, Topychkanov said he does not see the prospects of U.S. intervention as likely, given U.S. budget constraints, human losses suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Congress’ awareness of existing constraints and possible consequences of yet another intervention in the Middle East region.