EU hails UN Syria chemical arms resolution

The European Union has praised a United Nations resolution aimed at destroying Syria's chemical arms cache for "setting a standard" against perpetrators of poison gas attacks.

The resolution represented "a major step towards a sustainable and unified international response to the crisis in Syria" and EU would provide "forceful" support in the case of non-compliance, foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement late Friday.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed a landmark resolution on Friday ordering the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons and condemned a murderous poison gas attack in Damascus.

"This decision should pave the way to the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, and set a standard for the international community in responding to threats posed by weapons of mass destruction," Ashton said.

The plan calls for Syria's estimated 1,000 tonnes of chemical weapons to be put under international control by mid-2014. Experts say the timetable is very tight.

Ashton said the European bloc "reiterates its readiness to support actions foreseen under the resolution," including "a forceful international reaction in the event of non-compliance."

The United States says an August 21 attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta left more than 1,400 dead. It blamed Assad's government for the sarin gas assault and threatened a military strike over the attack.

The government has denied responsibility.