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French president demands 'coercive' UN measures for Syria

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday the UN Security Council had to make a threat of "coercive" measures against Syria if it does not hand over its chemical weapons.

Hollande told the UN General Assembly that a resolution being discussed by the major powers must "foresee coercive measures" under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and for those responsible for chemical weapon attacks in Syria to be "held accountable in the justice system."

France, the United States and Britain are pressing for a Security Council resolution to back a Russia-US plan to destroy President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons.

Article 42 of Chapter VII allows for the possible use of military force to enforce compliance. But the Western countries negotiating a resolution with Russia are not yet pressing for sanctions, diplomats say.

They want Chapter VII to be cited to make the resolution enforceable under international law, which could allow later measures.

"We want the resolution that will be voted in coming days to be binding," Hollande told a press conference after addressing the assembly.

"That means it indicates that in case of a failure, it has to be possible to use sanctions under Chapter VII," he added.

"If there is no binding character in the resolution there will be no followup in respecting the commitments."

Hollande said that if Assad failed to keep to the Russia-US plan, the Security Council would have to meet immediately and be able to decide new measures.

"If the Security Council resolution does not follow this path and avoids any reference -- I say any reference -- to Chapter VII, that would deprive the United Nations' action of any capacity, any credibility," Hollande said.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was to discuss the resolution and the chemical disarmament plan with US Secretary of State John Kerry later Tuesday.

When the two made a disarmament accord on September 14, to avert a US military strike on Syria, Lavrov said it would have to be backed by a Chapter VII Security Council resolution.

But Lavrov and other Russian officials later opposed Chapter VII, accusing western nations of seeking the measure as a step toward military force.

tw/dw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130924/french-president-demands-coercive-un-measures-syria-0