U.N. Security Council’s veto powers to discuss Syria

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The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Syria, diplomats said.

The meeting of the veto-wielding countries –the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – comes after U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said earlier that the failure to halt atrocities in the war-torn country had become a new stain on the reputation of the world body and the Security Council powers.

France, Britain and the United States on Tuesday pressed for a Council resolution that would impose tough consequences should Damascus fail to hand over control of its banned chemical weapons.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it would be "unacceptable" for the 15-nation Council to pass a text that puts the blame on President Bashar al-Assad for an Aug. 21 attack in the Damascus suburbs.

A Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday was canceled at the last minute at Moscow's request.

France has indicated it is ready to modify, within limits, its draft resolution but intends to keep the military option on the table as a means of pressuring the Assad regime.

At Russia's urging, Damascus has said it wants to put its arsenal of chemical weapons under international supervision in compliance with the 1993 convention banning the weapons.

Russia has given the United States a plan to put Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal under international control, ahead of a key meeting between Moscow and Washington’s top diplomats in Geneva, Russian media reported on Wednesday.

At least two days of U.S.-Russian talks are expected in Geneva, starting on Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a media briefing.

(With AFP and Reuters)