UNITED NATIONS — The five permanent members of the divided Security Council have reached agreement on key elements of a resolution to require Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpiles, U.N. diplomats said Thursday.
The diplomats said Russia and the United States were still negotiating on a handful of unresolved issues, reportedly including details on how the chemical weapons will be destroyed. They spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations have been private.
Their comments came a day after Russia's deputy foreign minister said negotiators had overcome a major hurdle and agreed that the resolution would include a reference to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows for military and nonmilitary actions to promote peace and security.
White House spokesman Jay Carney wouldn't confirm that an agreement on a resolution had been reached.
"We have made good progress," Carney said. "We hope that this will be resolved and the process will move forward quickly."
In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov offered to provide troops to guard facilities where Syria's chemical weapons would be destroyed.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters Thursday that a few subjects needed to be refined in the draft resolution but expressed optimism about a deal. "Things have advanced," he told reporters.
Fabius said Wednesday he thought the five veto-wielding permanent Security Council members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — known as the P-5 would agree on a text on Thursday or Friday, a prediction echoed by Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.
The P-5 have been discussing for weeks what to include in a new resolution requiring that Syria's chemical weapons be secured and dismantled. The U.S. and Russia had been at odds on how to enforce the resolution.
The flurry of diplomatic activity is in response to an Aug. 21 poison gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in a Damascus suburb, and President Barack Obama's threat of U.S. strikes in retaliation.