U.S., Russia Seal Landmark Deal on Syria Weapons

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The United States and Russia on Saturday unveiled an ambitious plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year and left the door open to sanctions if Damascus failed to comply.

The landmark deal was hailed by the West, but rejected by rebels who warn that it would not halt the bloodshed in the conflict which has killed more than 110,000 people and displaced millions in two and a half years.

Under the accord struck in three days of talks in Geneva between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Syrian President Bashar Assad now has a week to hand over details of his regime's stockpile.

"We have reached a shared assessment of the amount and type of chemical weapons possessed by the Assad regime. And we are committed to the rapid assumption of control by the international community of those weapons," Kerry told reporters at a joint press conference with Lavrov, after wrapping up three days of negotiations in Geneva.

Kerry said that the accord called for the "expeditious destruction and verification" of Syria's chemical arsenal, and required Damascus to allow "immediate, unfettered access" to weapons sites.

Syria must submit an inventory of its chemical weapons within a week, and inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, with the goal of eliminating the arms by mid-2014, Kerry said.

"One of the reasons we believe this is achievable is because the Assad regime has taken extraordinary means to keep control of these weapons," he added, noting that the chemical weapons were mainly in regions under Damascus' control.

"So that's the silver lining," he said.

"We should not have a problem achieving access to these sites and that will soon be put to the test," he added.

Washington and Moscow also agreed that a United Nations resolution on Syria should have the threat of force in the event of non-compliance, Kerry underlined.

"Providing this framework is fully implemented it can end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but also their neighbors... Because of the threat of proliferation this framework can provide greater protection and security to the world," he said.

"The world will now expect the Assad regime to live up to its commitments... There can be no room for games. Or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime," he added.

However, Lavrov said at the press conference that the U.N. Security Council would act if Syria breached the international convention banning chemical weapons under a deal reached with the United States to eliminate its arms stockpile.

"In the case of those demands not being fulfilled, or in the case of anyone using chemical weapons, the Security Council will take measures according to Chapter Seven of the United Nations charter," Lavrov said.

He referred to the section of the charter that provides for enforcement through sanctions, including the possible use of military force, saying that the Security Council expects Syria to comply fully with the demands of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Nevertheless, he cautioned that the Security Council would not accept reports of chemical weapons violations automatically but that they would be investigated.

"Of course it does not mean that each violation reported to the Security Council will be taken on trust. Each will be investigated. We will try to ensure authenticity," he said.

Lavrov said that the three days of talks with Kerry had achieved an aim set out by Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama when they met on the sidelines of the latest G20 summit in Saint Petersburg.

"We have achieved the aim set in a conversation between our presidents on September 5 on the sidelines of the G20... about putting under international control Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons," Lavrov said.

The two sides "confirmed their adherence to a peaceful resolution," Lavrov said, adding that the agreement had been reached "in record time."

Lavrov praised the agreement between the U.S. and Russia as a "consensus, a compromise and professional".

He stressed that the framework agreed by Russia and the United States was only a proposal but said "its significance is hard to overestimate."

Meanwhile, a U.S. official announced on Saturday that Washington believes there are 45 sites in Syria linked to the country's chemical weapons program.

"There are probably 45 sites associated with Syria's chemical weapons program" and "roughly half have exploitable quantities of chemical weapons materials," the official told reporters shortly after Kerry and Lavrov announced their accord.

The official added that it is believed that all of the sites are currently under the control of the embattled regime of Assad, given that Damascus has been moving stocks into areas it runs.

Russia has also agreed with a U.S. assessment that Syria has 1,000 metric tonnes of chemical weapons agents and precursors, including blister agents such as mustard gas and sulfur, and nerve agents like sarin.

Comments 14
Missing putin1 14 September 2013, 14:57

Congrate to Syria. Very important to keep Israeli out of Syria. Now, the Israeli-Saudi bloc is kept working with the rebels (terrorists) from out of the country. Bravo Bashar!

Thumb benzona 14 September 2013, 15:29

The only recognized terrorists in the near east are Hamas, Hezbollah and the Syrian regime.

Bye bye Bachar.... After signing the treaty, he'll evaporate in thin air.

Thumb benzona 14 September 2013, 15:27

The paid mouthpieces have lighter programme on weekends. They take it easy.... Whilst devoted people to Lebanon like us come more often. These are facts!

Thumb cityboy 14 September 2013, 23:49

You are not devoted, you just have nothing better to do.

Thumb Roaring-FlameThrower 14 September 2013, 15:32

Another glorious and divine victory has just been signed, sealed, and delivered. If 2006 was divine, 2013 is holy and sacramental. Without even firing a shot, a rocket, a lowly bullet that costs less than 10 Iranian Rials the West, the Zionists, the Mighty Americans signed their defeat and shameless surrender at the hands of both the Islamic Iranian Resistance and the glorious Baath regime. By giving up its arsenal of chemical weapons, the regime and the resistance now have a free hand to finish off what they set out to do from the onset; complete annihilation of the syrian people without being accused this time of foul play. By leveling the playing field with the terrorists takfiris ( No Chemical weapons), the impending and sure victory will be resounding, only this time it will be sweet and divine.

Thumb benzona 14 September 2013, 16:09

Why do I have the feeling that God's name will be hijacked again soon? :-/

Default-user-icon Mahdi (Guest) 14 September 2013, 17:13

And the next steps are?You will invide Israel,take over Mekka and Madina and put entire world under your ideology?By the way,did Hitler passed by by your neighbourhood by any chance?

Thumb Lebanon4life 14 September 2013, 17:16

Good Step in the right direction

Missing peace 14 September 2013, 17:33

smart to criticize but not a word of condemnation of the shelling of lebanese villages by the syrian army your friends!

Missing putin1 14 September 2013, 17:45

Assad is doing Lebanon a favor, as he did for 25 years, killing the terrorists for you. If I were Assad, I will charge you guys for this.

Missing peace 14 September 2013, 17:45

americans never wanted to shell syria. they need bashar in place as a protector of the israeli border. russia and the us are allies but for the public they must pretend... if they really wanted bashar out they would have moved their pawns much earlier as they usually do...
the only ones who turned out ridiculous and naive are the french :)

so those M8ers scaring people about a US israeli plot to remove bashar are in reality allies with them as none of them want bashar out!

ironic isn't it? LOL

Missing helicopter 14 September 2013, 20:12

All this worldly political analysis makes my head hurt. The fox and the hound agreed on what to do with the chicken, that is all there is to it.
Now let us worry about making Lebanon a livable place for us and our families. We need corruption stopped, our political thieves prosecuted for their theft and mismanagement of Lebanon. Lets get rid of weapons outside the State and demand future plan for electricity and infrastructure.,

Missing peace 15 September 2013, 01:03

please wolf have the decency of not quoting martin luther king as you are a million light years away from his teachings... pity you....

Missing peace 15 September 2013, 01:09

1/ shebaa farms: the key is between the hands of the syrians who never hand to the UN the official docs proving they are lebanese thus falling under UN425...
2/ golan heights : the syrians themselves do not seem in a hurry to take them back as not a single bullet was fired to liberate them...
3/ agreed
5/ agreed...
conclusion? none of the above concern the lebanese.... except shebaa which is blocked by the syrians.... not the israelis!!!! ironic no?