The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a binding resolution on ridding Syria of chemical weapons, reports BBC. At a session in New York, the 15-member body backed the draft document agreed earlier by Russia and the US. The deal breaks a two-and-a-half year deadlock in the UN over Syria, where fighting between government forces and rebels rages on. The vote came after the international chemical watchdog agreed on a plan to destroy Syria's stockpile by mid-2014. Speaking after the vote in New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the decision as "historic". He urged the Syrian government to implement the resolution "faithfully and without delay", and also announced a tentative date of mid-November for a new peace conference in Geneva. As reported, the resolution has two key demands: that Syria abandons its chemical weapons stockpile and for weapons experts to be given unfettered access to make sure it is dismantled by the middle of next year. But the resolution doesn't authorize the automatic use of force if Syria is held in violation, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov determinedly pointed out. Punitive measures, like military action or sanctions, would require a second resolution, and then Moscow would likely wield its veto.

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