Sunday, September 15, 2013

US and Russia agree deal to destroy Syria chemical weapons and promise UN sanctions if Assad fails to hand them over

US and Russia agree deal to destroy Syria chemical weapons and promise UN sanctions if Assad fails to hand them over

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry strikes deal with Russian foreign minister
  • Destruction of weapons must be completed by mid-2014, says Kerry
  • French foreign minister described the deal as an 'important step forward'


America and Russia yesterday agreed a deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons and promised UN sanctions if President Bashar al-Assad fails to comply.
Syria must hand over a complete list of its estimated 1,000 tons of chemical weapons within a week, leading to their complete destruction in the first half of 2014 in the deal agreed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Assad will be told to give full access to international weapons inspectors as they search for
stockpiles of deadly substances such as sarin – which experts believe caused more than 1,400 deaths in an attack on Damascus last month. 

Agreement: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, shake hands yesterday after making a deal over Syria following three days of negotiations
Agreement: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, shake hands yesterday after making a deal over Syria following three days of negotiations
US Secretary of State John Kerry, second right, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, back to camera, talk, with their senior aides seated by a swimming pool at a hotel in Geneva Switzerland
US Secretary of State John Kerry, second right, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, back to camera, talk, with their senior aides seated by a swimming pool at a hotel in Geneva Switzerland


‘The international community, including Russia, must hold the regime to account. 
'The priority must now be a full and prompt implementation of the agreement,’ he said.
Deadline: Assad, pictured, is thought to hold about 1,000 tons of chemical agents and precursors, details of which must be handed over by September 21
Deadline: Assad, pictured, is thought to hold about 1,000 tons of chemical agents and precursors, details of which must be handed over by September 21

But Syrian opposition groups criticised the deal, calling it a stalling measure. 
General Salim Idriss, who is based in northern Syria, pledged to continue fighting Assad’s regime. 
The UK has been providing non-lethal aid to these groups including satellite phones, radios and body armour.
The deal, secured after three days of negotiations, included an agreement of the extent of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. 

Their removal will be supervised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 
It estimated Assad holds about 1,000 tons of chemical agents and precursors. Details of these must be provided by September 21.
Teams of UN and OPCW inspectors are expected to begin their searches in November, with the Syrian regime responsible for their security.
The US and Russia remain divided over military action should Assad fail to comply.
At yesterday’s press conference, Lavrov insisted that the agreement reached with  the US ‘said nothing about the use of force, all violations should be approved by the Security Council’.

Culled from Dailymail


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