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US, Russia Agree On Syrian Plan

Marathon negotiations between the U.S. and Russia have produced an agreement on securing and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attend a press conference
Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attend a press conference (Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

The diplomatic breakthrough averts the threat of U.S. military action for the moment, but it will require one of the most ambitious arms-control efforts in history. It involves making an inventory and seizing all components of Syria’s chemical weapons program, and imposing penalties if the Syrian government fails to comply will the terms.

The U.S. and Russia are giving Syria just one week, until Sept. 21, to submit “a comprehensive listing” of all its chemical weapons and where they are kept.

International inspectors are to be on the ground in Syria by November. During that month, they are to complete their initial assessment and all mixing and filling equipment for chemical weapons is to be destroyed. They are to be given “immediate and unfettered” access to inspect all sites.

All components of the chemical weapons program are to be removed from the country or destroyed by mid-2014.

If Syria fails to comply, it would face punitive action by the U.N. Security Council.

Obama hails Syria agreement, says US prepared to act if diplomacy fails

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is welcoming an agreement to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, but says the U.S. remains prepared to act if diplomacy fails.

Obama says Saturday’s deal offers the chance to eliminate Syria’s stockpile in a transparent, expeditious and verifiable manner.

He says that could eliminate the threat these weapons pose not only to Syria’s people but to the world.

Obama adds that while important progress has been made, more work remains to be done.

He says the international community expects Syria to live up to its public commitments.

Obama says the U.S. will continue working with Russia, Britain, France, the U.N. and others to ensure that the process is verifiable and that the Syrian government is held to account if it fails to comply with the agreement.

The agreement announced today by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR’-gay LAHV’-rahf) calls for Syria to eliminate all its chemical weapons by the middle of next year or face U.N. penalties.

 McCain, Graham blast Syrian chemical weapons deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Republican senators who have sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy say a Syrian chemical weapons agreement hailed by the president is meaningless.

Arizona’s John McCain and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham say friends and enemies of the U.S. will view the deal as “an act of provocative weakness” by America.

They argue that the agreement will embolden Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon.

The senators say Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR’ AH’-sahd) will just use the time the agreement gives him to delay and deceive the world.

Further, McCain and Graham argue that the agreement doesn’t resolve the underlying civil war that has caused the deaths of more than 100,000 people and turned millions of Syrians into refugees.

Fidel Castro applauds Russian proposal on Syria

HAVANA (AP) — Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has published an article applauding a Russian-backed proposal to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. The U.S. and Russia reached agreement Saturday to implement the plan amid an ongoing civil war in the Middle Eastern country.

In an article published in Cuban press Saturday, the 87-year-old leader says “the intelligent Russian initiative” meant “the risk that the conflict explodes with its lamentable consequences seems to have diminished.” The article is signed by Castro and dated Sept. 10.

Castro also lauds Russia as a “brave country” that “stayed firm before the unusual pretension of the government of the United States, threatening to launch an overwhelming attack against the Syrian defenses.”


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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