U.S., Russia Reach Deal On Syrian Weapons

GENEVA (CBSNewYork/AP) — The United States and Russia on Saturdya took a major step toward averting a U.S. military strike on Syria, with Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announcing that they have agreed upon the framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons.

Under the deal, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government fails to comply, the U.N. Security Council could authorize sanctions — short of military action.

The deal announced by the diplomats on the third day of intense negotiations in Geneva includes what Kerry called “a shared assessment” of Syria’s weapons stockpile, and a timetable and measures for Syria to comply.

The deal 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.

But the stakes have been especially high in Geneva, because the negotiations between the United States and Russia on securing Syria’s chemical weapons also are considered key to breaking the international stalemate that has so far blocked a resumption of peace talks to end the Syrian civil war, now in its third year.

“We have committed to a standard that says, verify and verify,” Kerry told a packed news conference in the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, where he has been staying and the negotiations were conducted since Thursday night.

Among the highlights of the agreement is that the U.S. and Russia would agree to work together on a new, binding Security Council resolution that would ensure verification of the agreement to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stocks and remove its capability to produce such weapons.

The resolution would allow …read more

Source: CBS local New York


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