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Key compromises on UN Syria deal

Saturday 28 Sep 2013 6:05p.m.

Key compromises on UN Syria deal

The United Nations has come to an agreement on what to do about Syria, but it carries no threat of enforcement, and Prime Minister John Key says that's not really good enough.

It- demands eradication of Syria's chemical weapons, but does not threaten automatic punitive action. It calls for "transition" from Bashar al-Assad's government.

Mr Key says while it's good the United Nations has finally come to some agreement, it really needed to have some enforcement element – it needed to have some teeth. He is in agreement with US President Barack Obama and the United States on that one.

Mr Key has been in New York City trying to get New Zealand a seat on the Security Council? And if he is successful in that, if he is able to get the 129 votes New Zealand needs, this time next year when decisions like this are made New Zealand would be at that table.

Today's breakthrough came after two and a half years of paralysis between the US and Russia, when the Security Council voted through a measure aimed at making Syria get rid of its chemical weapons.

US Secretary of State John Kerry personally cast the US' vote.

"Together the world, with a single voice, for the first time, is imposing binding obligations of the Assad regime, requiring it to get rid of weapons that have been used to devastating effect as tools of terror," said Mr Kerry.

Mr Key called for a "chapter seven" resolution that would give a UN mandate for enforcement if Syria failed to comply.

Today's deal would still require another vote, for that which Russia could just use its veto block.

"It doesn't specifically spell out how it would hold the regime to account," says Mr Key. "It doesn't allow for force, but there are options there though."

Mr Key met with United Nations boss Ban Ki-moon and pledged $604,000 to help remove chemical weapons and another $2 million to humanitarian aid, with aid already a total of $7.46 million to Syria.

Mr Key says we will not provide peacekeeping troops or inspectors to help remove weapons at this stage. Dealing with Syria will be no easy walk.

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