News Section: National Government
Russia and United States Reach Agreement on Syrian Chemical Weapons
BRADENTON – The United States announced Saturday that they have reached a deal with Russia regarding a framework to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. The announcement was made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after talks the two held in Switzerland.
According to details released, Syria must submit a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons stockpile within one week, and international inspectors must be on the ground no later than November.
In a statement, President Barack Obama said that the framework "represents an important concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria's chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed," adding, "There are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today. And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act."
According to the U.S. State Department, their timeline for action includes finalizing initial inspections of declared chemical weapons sites by November; the destruction of production and mixing and filling equipment by November; and the elimination of all chemical weapons material by mid-2014.
Kerry said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's goverment must allow "immediate and unfettered" access to inspectors.
"Providing this framework is fully implemented, it can end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but also their neighbors," and the wider world, he said.
Russia and the United States say they will work together to get a U.N. Security Council resolution reinforcing the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.