Hint at having Geneva II in mid-November
In a rare instance of unity, Russia and the United States praised Syria for complying with its pledge to eliminate its chemical weapons, and vowed to convene an international conference next month to negotiate political settlement to the conflict.
Appearing in a joint news conference with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after their meeting on the sidelines of an economic summit in Bali, Indonesia on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was “very pleased” with the initial steps Syria has taken toward destroying its estimated 1,000-ton chemical weapons stockpile.
The United Nations said that chemical experts had begun eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons, destroying missile warheads, aerial bombs, and chemical equipment on Sunday.
Mr. Lavrov for his part expressed full confidence in Syria’s “impeccable” compliance.
“We have no reason to suspect that the impeccable cooperation that the Syrian government has been offering so far will change in any way,” he said.
Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kerry called for a new international conference on ending the civil conflict in Syria to be held in Geneva in mid-November.
“Today we have agreed on steps that must be taken for the [Syrian] government and the opposition to come to the conference,” Mr. Lavrov said without elaborating.
Mr. Lavrov repeatedly emphasised a shared approach Moscow and Washington took on Syria.
“I would like to reiterate that we have a common understanding with our American colleagues that there should be synchronised, parallel and coordinated efforts to convene a conference which would be represented by all parties with the help of important international players,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.