• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:01pm

United States and Russia agree plan for Syria to give up chemical weapons

President Assad given one week to provide details of chemical weapons

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 September, 2013, 7:52pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 September, 2013, 2:14am

The United States and Russia yesterday agreed on an ambitious plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year.

In a landmark deal thrashed out in talks spanning three days, the two powers gave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a week to hand over details of his regime's stockpile.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad's regime must also provide "immediate and unfettered" access to inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

"The inspectors must be on the ground no later than November ... and the goal is to establish the removal by halfway through next year," Kerry said alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the deal but said much remained to be done and Damascus must comply with the accord.

Obama said that if the regime of Assad did not live up to the deal, "the United States remains prepared to act".

Kerry said the steps agreed to yesterday would be encapsulated in a UN Security Council resolution drawn up under Chapter Seven of the organisation's charter, which provides for enforcement through sanctions including the possible use of military force.

But with Russia strongly opposed to the use of military threats and wielding a veto on the Security Council, Kerry acknowledged it was "impossible to have a pre-agreement" on what would happen in the event of non-compliance.

Lavrov signalled that Moscow would back some form of sanction, saying that the Security Council would act under Chapter Seven if Syria failed to meet its demands.

Lavrov hailed yesterday's accord as an "excellent" agreement "whose significance is hard to overestimate".

The accord was greeted with dismay by the Syrian opposition coalition, which has spent two years appealing to the West to give it the weapons needed to tilt the balance of the civil war in their favour. "We cannot accept any part of this initiative," said General Selim Idriss, the head of the Free Syrian Army.

Washington and Moscow hope to revive plans for peace talks in Geneva that would bring together Assad's regime and the opposition to agree a political transition to end the war that erupted in March 2011.

Kerry and Lavrov will meet again in a few weeks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, with the hope of setting a date for the stalled peace conference.

France welcomed the Geneva deal. "The plan is a significant step forward," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

The United States has estimated that Syria possesses around 1,000 metric tonnes of various chemical agents, including mustard and sarin gas.

Russian estimates had been much lower but Kerry said that the two countries had reconciled their assessments.


Related topics

More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

There no proof and evidence that Assad did use WMDs in this war. They just guessing and suspecting but are not able to proof it. The USA haven't learned anything from Iraq war and repeat their same mistakes here in Syria. If the USA do attack based on suspicion alone, like they did it in Iraq, then for sure other countries will seek to get the atomic bomb as the US can attack you whenever they like, with or without llegitimacy. You will enter a future where every single country will seek to arm themselve and being strong enough to defend themselve from the USA.
Conflicts rage world wide as the Bible said they would. Iran continues it’s alleged program of nuclear weapons & Assad is still in power. Intelligence seems uncertain of when Iran will get the bomb if that is their goal. Israel can’t afford to gamble with this. Assad has allegedly used WMD’s against rebels and has targeted Tel-Aviv with his missiles. Will the Russian/Syrian agreement do the trick? If not, I believe the war in Isaiah Chapter 17 will likely take place. I wrote a small 6 page book that speaks of salvation and what I believe the Bible states will take place soon as well as the potential trends I see at this time. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look: ****www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next
Very ambitious effort to rid all of Syria's chemical weapons (1000 tons), considering US still has about 3000 tons even though they started destroying their own 31,500 tons of chemical weapons stockpile 3 decades ago:
A face saving exercise US must follow through with Russia and Syria, because Congress was not about to approve a war in Syria. Look out for US to cry foul anytime soon, as their prime target was always to attack Syria, not real peace.
Meanwhile, head of the Syrian rebels want to attack the US:


SCMP.com Account