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389 words - September 18, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The United States and Russia agreed in Geneva on September 14 on a framework agreement to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. This "represents an important, concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria's chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed," President Barack Obama said. "The latest diplomatic efforts have helped to lower the immediate threat of a military operation. The initiative to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control is very important in this respect," said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, repeating nonetheless that any external military intervention in Syria's affairs without the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanction would be considered "unacceptable."
The international community unanimously welcomed the agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel saw it as good news, "that the US and Russia are embarking on a diplomatic path". However the words must now be followed by action, the Chancellor added. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stressed "that in order to negotiate a political solution in Syria, a stronger position is needed." Although "our goal remains to convene a second Geneva conference to bring all sides together to agree a political solution to the conflict, (…) the world must be prepared to hold Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government to account if they don't," said his British colleague, William Hague. "President Obama has been absolutely clear about the remainder of the potential of use of force if there is noncompliance or refusal (from Syria) to take part," warned US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Report by the UN chemical weapons inspectors made public on September 16 on the use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21 clearly confirmed that sarin gas was used and killed hundreds. In the meantime, the US and France are still trying to include a military option in a UNSC resolution, and Russia is still insisting that there not be any kind of use of force in that resolution. Also, a group of our technical experts from the US, Russia, and Europe are already in The Hague with the OPCW to discuss the international inspection mission. Lastly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has received the Syrian Government's formal accession to the international treaty on banning chemical weapons, effective October 14.
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