U.S. and Russia reach agreement on Syria weapons
GENEVA (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov say they have reached agreement on a framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons.
The announcement comes on the third day of intense negotiations in Geneva. The deal includes what Kerry called “a shared assessment” of Syria’s weapons stockpile, and a timetable and measures for Assad’s government to comply. It gives Syria one week, until Sept. 21, to submit “a comprehensive listing” of all its chemical weapons stockpiles. It calls for international inspectors to be on the ground in Syria by November and to complete their initial work by the end of that month.
All of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks, material and equipment would have to be destroyed or removed by mid-2014.
The U.S. and Russia would work together on a new, binding Security Council resolution that would allow punitive measures if Syria’s government fails to comply. The punitive measures include sanctions but stop short of military action.
U.S. officials say President Barack Obama would retain the authority to order U.S. airstrikes against Syria.