Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, released the following statement regarding the recent vote by the UN Security Council regarding Syria and its chemical weapons:
"This important resolution that was voted on will require the destruction of a category of weapons that the Syrian government has used ruthlessly and repeatedly against its own people. And this resolution will make clear that there are going to be consequences for noncompliance.
"This is very significant. This is the first time since the Syria conflict began 2 ½ years ago that the Security Council has imposed binding obligations on Syria -- binding obligations of any kind. The resolution also establishes what President Obama has been emphasizing for many months: that the use of chemical weapons anywhere constitutes a threat to international peace and security. By establishing this, the Security Council is establishing a new international norm.
"As you know, we went into these negotiations with a fundamental red line, which is that we would get in this resolution a reference to Chapter VII in the event of non-compliance and that we would get the Council committing to impose measures under Chapter VII if the Syrians did not comply with their binding, legal obligations. This resolution would not fall under Chapter VII of the UN charter, which would allow it to be enforced by military action.
"If implemented fully, this resolution will eliminate one of the largest previously undeclared chemical weapons programs in the world, and this is a chemical weapons program that has sat precariously in one of the most volatile countries and in one of the most horrific civil wars the world has seen in a very long time. In the span of a few weeks, the curtain that hid this secret chemical weapons program has been lifted and the world is on the verge of requiring that these terrible weapons to be destroyed.
"This resolution breaks new ground in another critical respect. For the first time, the Security Council is on the verge of coming together to endorse the Geneva Communiqué, calling for the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers. If adopted, we will have achieved what we were unable to do before -- unable to do for the last 2 ½ years -- which is to fully endorse the Communiqué and call for the convening, as soon as possible, of an international conference on its implementation."