US, Russia Ink Syria Deal, Chem Arms Inspection Starts in Nov
The United States and Russia have agreed Saturday that Syria's chemical weapons must be destroyed or removed by mid-2014.
The two countries represented by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have prepared an outline for the identification and seizure of Syrian chemical weapons, according to which Syria must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week.
Lavrov and Kerry have been holding a series of meetings on the issue in Geneva, Switzerland.
International media reported Saturday that the agreement will be backed by a UN Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply, Kerry said.
He explained the first international inspection of Syrian chemical weapons will take place by November, with destruction to begin next year.
The US accuses the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad of killing hundreds in a sarin gas attack in a Damascus suburb on August 21.
Assad's government denies the allegations and has blamed the rebels of carrying out the attack.
In a joint news conference with Lavrov on Saturday, Kerry called on the Assad government to live up to its public commitments.
"There can be no room for games. Or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime," he said, cited by The BBC.
Both Kerry and Lavrov explained if Syria failed to comply, then a UN resolution would be sought under Chapter VII of the UN charter, which allows for the use of force.
More than 100 000 people have died since the uprising against President Assad began in 2011. Millions of Syrians have been displaced.
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