RT - US-Russia reach landmark deal on destruction of Syria chemical weapons arsenalSubmitted by jungIepunker on Sat, 09/14/2013 - 13:08
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Russia and the United States reached a deal on a framework that will see the destruction or removal of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid- 2014. Under the plan, the Assad government has one week to hand over an inventory of its chemical weapons arsenal.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry announced the plan on putting an end to Syria’s chemical weapons program following their third day of negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Kerry outlined several points of the plan, which would see the “rapid assumption of control by the international community” of Syria’s chemical weapons. He further stressed US-Russia commitment to the complete destruction of not only of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, but also its production and refinement capabilities.
Syria will also become a party to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which outlaws their production and use.
Damascus must submit within a week’s time – “and not 30 days” – a complete inventory of related arms, “including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production and research and development facilities."
The Syrian government should provide the OPCW, the UN and other supporting personnel “with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria.” Lavrov later said that security for all international inspectors on the ground should be provided for not only by the government, but opposition forces as well.
It remains undecided who will actually be tasked with destroying the stock, although their destruction “outside of Syria" and under “OPWC supervision” would prove to be optimal.
On the timetable, Kerry said UN inspectors must be on the ground no later than November, while the destruction of chemical weapons must be completed by the middle of 2014.
"Providing this framework is fully implemented it can end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but also their neighbors," Kerry said adding that Russian and US teams of experts had reached "a shared assessment" of the existing stockpile and that Syria must destroy all of its weapons. It was possible that the Syrian rebels have some chemical weapons, he acknowledged.
If Damascus fails to comply with the plan, a response in accordance with UN Charter Chapter 7 will follow, Kerry said, in a reference to the use of military force. The chapter provides for "action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security" in the event other measures fail.