Says Syria must sign the international treaty that bans chemical weapons if it wants a Russian-led effort to avert U.S. military strikes to work.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria must do more than just declare its chemical weapons stockpiles and sign the international treaty that bans them if it wants a Russian-led effort to avert U.S. military strikes to work.
Just minutes after Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime announced on Tuesday that it would take those steps, Mr. Kerry said he hoped that it would “go further” in the interests of peace. He said the Syrian government must “live up to what they said just said they would do” and then cooperate with Russia “to work out a formula by which those weapons could be transferred to international control and destroyed.”
UNSC meeting on Syria cancelled
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council has cancelled a meeting on a resolution aimed at securing and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.
The closed consultations had been scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday (1.30 a.m. IST on Wednesday). Australian Ambassador Gary Guinlan says in a Twitter message that the meeting was cancelled “following withdrawal of the request for consultations.”
Council diplomats had said Russia had asked for the meeting. There were no other details on why it was canceled.
The Syrian government has accepted a proposal from Russia, its most powerful ally, to give up its chemical weapons stockpile. France has announced that it plans to introduce a Security Council resolution to ensure international verification of the disarmament.
DPA adds from Moscow:
Syria ready to sign chemical weapons convention
Syria is ready to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, open its storage sites and declare its arsenal, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Tuesday, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.
“We are ready to fulfill our obligations in compliance with this treaty, including through the provision of information about our chemical weapons,” Mr. Moallem said.
“We will open our storage sites and cease production. We are ready to open these facilities to Russia, other countries and the United Nations.” He said the decision was part of a Russian initiative. Syria is one of only five countries that have not signed the 1997 convention.