Assad Once Pushed For Ban On WMDs In The Middle East

“Aware of the threat to peace and security in the region posed by all weapons of mass destruction and of the need to establish a zone free of such weapons in the Middle East,” the proposed U.N. resolution read.

SANA, File / AP

Syria once pushed at the United Nations to make the Middle East a “zone free of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons.” The draft resolution from the now war-torn regime of Bashar al-Assad came in December 2003, after the United States had accused Syria of developing weapons of mass destruction in the wake of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The move was aimed at Israel, which is believed to possess nearly 100 nuclear weapons, something the Israeli government neither confirms or denies.

The proposed resolution called on Middle East states to adopt the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (PWC), and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

The United States’ representative to the United Nations at the time, John Negroponte, said the U.S. was still “concerned” about Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

“We think the focus at the moment is the search for WMD in Iraq,” Negroponte said. “Secondly, we are concerned about Syria’s own WMD and obviously, if a council member or any member of the United Nations proposes a resolution for consideration, we are prepared to consider it, that doesn’t mean to adopt it, embrace it or endorse it in any way, shape or form.”

The draft resolution, which was never adopted, was a regular move by Arab states hoping to take a stand against Israel’s nuclear weapons.

“As the Arab representative on the council, they wanted to take a strong stand against Israel. It’s a move that regularly comes up in the General Assembly but can usually be fought off in the Security Council before it is brought to a vote. The Syrians turn on the council was tumultuous as they tied everything they could to Israel,” former U.N. spokesman Ric Grenell said.

According to a declassified United States intelligence estimate, more than 1,400 people died in the chemical weapons attack that took place in the Damascus suburbs on August 21st. The report says the Syrian government carried out the attack.

A PDF of the resolution draft has been embedded below:

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