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Kerry Urges UN Action On Syria

  • RFE/RL

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the UN Security Council must take action to cement a U.S.-Russian plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the UN Security Council must take action to cement a U.S.-Russian plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the UN Security Council "must act" to make sure Syria implements a deal brokered by Russia and the United States on ridding Syria of its chemical weapons.

Speaking to reporters in Washington on September 19, Kerry said the Security Council must pass a resolution including a threat of force if Damascus reneges on the deal.

"The complete removal of Syria's chemical weapons is possible here through peaceful means," Kerry said.

"And that will be determined by the resolve of the United Nations to follow through on the agreement that Russian and the United States reached in Geneva -- an agreement that clearly said this must be enforceable. It must be done as soon as possible. It must be real."

Kerry also said a recent report by UN chemical-weapons experts proves the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind a poison gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus last month.

Kerry also dismissed claims the rebels were responsible for the August 21 attack, which Washington says killed 1,400 civilians.

"The world can decide whether it was used by the regime which has used chemical weapons before, the regime which had the rockets and the weapons, or whether the opposition secretly went unnoticed into territory they don't control to fire rockets they don't have, containing sarin that they don't possess, to kill their own people," Kerry said.

"And, without even being noticed they just disassembled it all and packed up and got out of the central of Damascus controlled by Assad. Please!"

Putin: 'Primitive' Technology

His comments came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin said those responsible for the attack had relied on "primitive" technology no longer in the Syrian Army's inventory.

"We have all the grounds to believe that this is a provocation, a crafty one, of course, cunning -- but in the technique used to carry it out, a primitive one," Putin said.

Putin also told a gathering of journalists and Russia experts in the Russian town of Valdai that he could not be 100 percent certain the plan for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons would succeed.

Assad told U.S. TV on September 18 his government will implement the deal reached by Russia and the United States to put his country's chemical-weapons stockpiles under international control.

However, Assad told Fox News the effort would cost $1 billion and would take about a year.

Syria's deputy prime minister, meanwhile, said Damascus believed the conflict has reached a stalemate and would call for a cease-fire if long-delayed peace talks in Geneva were to take place.

"Neither the armed opposition nor the regime is capable of defeating the other side," Qadri Jamil told Britain's "The Guardian" newspaper on September 20.

And in a commentary published in "The Washington Post," Iranian President Hassan Rohani urged world leaders to "seize the opportunity" presented by his election to engage Iran in constructive dialogue.

He said his country was ready to facilitate talks between the Syrian government and the opposition.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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