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Deal made to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday there can be "no games" from Syrian President Bashar Al Assad after the US and Russia reached agreement to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons

The deal, announced by Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, includes a timetable for Al Assad's chemical arsenal to be wiped out by the middle of next year and the enforcing of UN penalties if the Al Assad government fails to comply. It was not immediately clear whether Syria had signed on the agreement, which requires Damascus to submit a full list of its stocks within the next week.

"The world will now expect the regime to live up to its public commitments," Kerry said. "There can be no games, no room for avoidance or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime."

Under the framework agreement, inspectors are to be on the ground in Syria by November to make assessments and all equipment used in the production of chemical weapons is to be destroyed. The US and Russia will press for a UN Security Council resolution to cement the agreement under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which can authorise both the use of force and non-military measures.

But Lavrov said: "Any violations of procedures… would be looked at by the Security Council and if they are approved, the Security Council would take the required measures. Nothing is said about use of force or any automatic sanctions."

Kerry made it clear that the US believes the threat of force is necessary to back the diplomacy.

"I have no doubt that the combination of the threat of force and the willingness to pursue diplomacy helped to bring us to this moment," he said. Under the deal, the US and Russia are giving Syria just one week, until September 21, to submit "a comprehensive listing, including names, types and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and local and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities".

Kerry said the two sides had come to agreement on the exact size of Syria's weapons stockpile, which had been a sticking point. US officials said the US and Russia agreed that Syria had roughly 1,000 metric tonnes of chemical weapons agents and precursors, including blister agents such as sulphur and mustard gas, and nerve agents like sarin.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Sep 14, 2013
Words:411
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