U.S. and Russia Agree on Syria Weapons, Obama Says Force still Option

Russia and the United States finally reached an agreement on Saturday, reports say.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hold a news conference after the two finalized a framework for the elimination for Syrian chemical weapons in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 14, 2013. Photo: U.S. Department of State/Flickr

After three days of intense talks in Geneva, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov has finally demanded the Assad government to handle its chemical weapons within a week and let international inspectors eliminate all the stockpile by the middle of next year – an “ambitious” target, Kerry said.

U.S. Secretary of State outlined the details of the accord during the press conference as Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov looked on.

The deal “would allow us to expedite the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons” which would protect the Syrian people, Syria’s neighbours and the world.”

Kerry went on, adding that the removal of chemical weapons would be “credible and verifiable” if fully implemented.

“The world will now wait for the Assad regime to honour its commitments,” said Kerry. “There is no room for anything other than full compliance.”

The Russian official called the reached accord a “decision based on consensus and compromise and professionalism.”

“Any violations of procedures … would be looked at by the security council and if they are approved, the security council would take the required measures, concrete measures,” Lavrov said.

“Nothing is said about the use of force or about any automatic sanctions. All violations should be approved by the security council.”

However, the agreement still left some questions to be solved, including how such a disarmament can influence on the course of civil war and at what point the U.S. might yet make good on a continued threat to attack if it thinks Assad is reneging, reports Reuters.

According to the Geneva pact, the official Washington and the Kremlin will back a U.N. enforcement mechanism. However, as the mention terms are not yet fixed, Russia is unlikely to support the military option that the U.S. president revealed he was still ready to use.

“If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act,” Obama said. “The international community expects the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments.”

China, which has opposed military intervention in Syria, welcomed the deal.

“We believe that this framework agreement has ameliorated the present explosive and tense situation in Syria,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

William Hague, the British foreign secretary also welcomed the news and he took to Twitter, writing, “Urgent work on implementation now to take place”.

However, the Syrian opposition seemed to be less enthusiastic. General Selim Idris predicted that the deal would allow the Syrian government to escape being held accountable for killing hundreds of peaceful citizens шт Damascus.

“We have told our friends that the regime has begun moving a part of its chemical weapons arsenal to Lebanon and Iraq. We told them do not be fooled,” Idris told reporters in Istanbul.

“All of this initiative does not interest us. Russia is a partner with the regime in killing the Syrian people. A crime against humanity has been committed and there is not any mention of accountability,” he added.

Share this article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.