Nation & World News

U.S. And Russia Form A Plan On Syria’s Chemical Weapons

By Bill Chappell on September 14th, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart have reached a deal that calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons. The plan, which Kerry announced in a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday, gives Syria a week to detail its chemical arsenal.

“The world will now expect the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments,” Kerry said. “And as I said at the outset of these negotiations, there can be no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime.”

The apparent breakthrough comes on the third day of talks between Kerry and Lavrov, which began in Geneva on Thursday. It includes a contingency plan to authorize sanctions on Syria if President Bashar al-Assad does not comply with the deal’s requirements that it list, and then destroy, its complete stockpile of chemical weapons.

Syria would have until the middle of 2014 to finish destroying all of the weapons, Kerry said. He said that international inspectors must be given”immediate and unfettered”access to the arsenal by November.

Update at 1 p.m. ET: President Obama Welcomes News

“I spoke to Secretary Kerry earlier today and thanked him for his tireless and effective efforts on behalf of our nation,” President Obama said, in a statement welcoming the news of a draft agreement. “I also spoke to Ambassador Samantha Power who will ably lead our follow-on negotiations at the UN Security Council in New York.”

The president concluded his message by saying, “The use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world is an affront to human dignity and a threat to the security of people everywhere. We have a duty to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children. Today marks an important step towards achieving this goal.”

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: More Details Of Proposed Plan

The State Department has posted an outline of the joint U.S.-Russian plan, which it says will be submitted to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The document details how Syria should comply with the agreement, and how the country’s chemical weapons would be destroyed.

The outline calls for “Destruction of production and mixing/filling equipment by November.”

Update at 8:20 a.m. ET: U.N. Inspectors’ Report May Be Detailed Monday

Chemical weapons inspectors are expected to brief senior U.N. officials this weekend about their report on an Aug. 21 chemical attack that left more than 1,000 Syrian citizens dead.

“I believe that the report will be an overwhelming, overwhelming report that chemical weapons (were) used, even though I cannot publicly say at this time before I receive this report,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said during a U.N. meeting Friday, Reuters reports.

Many of the U.N. inspection team’s conclusions might be made public Monday, after Ban briefs the Security Council, the AP says. Sweden’s Ake Sellstrom, who leads the team, told the new agency that he is presenting his findings to Ban this weekend.

Our original report continues:

Any possible sanctions on Syria would stem from a U.N. Security Council “Chapter 7″ resolution, meaning that they could include military or non-military measures. Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter deals with preserving international peace and security.

“Any violations … 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.”

The Syrian government has denied that it deployed chemical weapons against its own citizens; it had not publicly acknowledged its chemical stockpile until Tuesday, when it promised to open storage sites to inspectors.

As The Washington Post reports, “Assad sent a letter Thursday to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying that on Monday he will sign the international accord banning chemical weapons.”

Kerry says that the efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons holdings are directly linked to the push for peace talks to end the country’s civil war, which has killed thousands since it began more than two years ago.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Former House Speaker Hastert Indicted In Probe Into $3.5M In Withdrawals

The Illinois Republican is accused of taking the money out in chunks of less than $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, and of lying to the FBI about it.


FCC Chairman Wants To Help Low Income Americans Afford Broadband

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposes to reboot the Lifeline phone-access program. The plan recognizes that everyone needs to study, apply for jobs and make social connections online.


A return to Pussy Galore's golden days: Honor Blackman, who played the character on screen in Goldfinger, poses with the original Bond, Sean Connery.

‘Trigger Mortis': New Bond Novel Brings Back Pussy Galore

For author Anthony Horowitz, the book is a return to the “true” James Bond. This means an unpublished scene from Ian Fleming himself — and a long-delayed reunion with a franchise favorite.


FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the audience at the opening ceremony of the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich Thursday. The leader of soccer's governing body has rejected calls for him to resign.

FIFA President Blatter: Bribery Scandal Puts ‘Long Shadow’ Over Soccer

Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter faces a re-election vote Friday, in the face of new corruption and bribery charges against senior members of FIFA.


NOAA Warns Of Powerful Storms, Despite Seeing ‘Below-Normal’ Hurricane Season

The agency also unveiled new forecast graphics that are more detailed and highlight threats posed by potentially deadly storm surges.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments