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Obama hopeful Kerry, Lavrov meet on Syria will yield result

Last Updated: Friday, September 13, 2013 - 16:30

Washington: US President Barack Obama has expressed hope that the Geneva meeting between his Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov on the issue of Syrian chemical weapons issues would yield concrete results.

"I am hopeful that the discussions that Secretary Kerry had with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well as some of the other players in this can yield a concrete result.

"And I know that he is going to be working very hard over the next several days to see what the possibilities are there," Obama told reporters yesterday, before a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

Kerry and Lavrov have had meetings in Geneva to discuss the Russian proposal to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control.

Kerry is leading an interagency team to discuss the modalities of transfer of Syrian chemical weapons to international control.

In Geneva, Kerry told reporters that he has seen reports that the Syrian regime has suggested that as part of the standard process they ought to have 30 days to submit data on their chemical weapons stockpile.

"We believe there is nothing standard about this process at this moment because of the way the regime has behaved, because not only the existence of these weapons, but they have been used," Kerry said.

"The words of the Syrian regime, in our judgement, are simply not enough, which is why we`ve come here in order to work with the Russians and work with Sergey Lavrov and his delegation here in order to make certain that this can, in fact, be achieved," he said.

Kerry said the expectations from both the US and Russians are high.

"Expectations are high. They are high for the United States, perhaps even more so for Russia to deliver on the promise of this moment. This is not a game, and I said that to my friend Sergey when we talked about it initially," he said.

"It has to be real. It has to be comprehensive. It has to be verifiable. It has to be credible. It has to be timely and implemented in a timely fashion. And finally, there ought to be consequences if it doesn`t take place," Kerry said.

Noting that diplomacy is the first preferred option for the Obama Administration, Kerry said it is too early to say if this would succeed.

"President Obama has said that again and again. Now, it`s too early to tell whether or not these efforts will succeed, but the technical challenges of trying to do this in the context of a civil war are obviously immense.

"But despite how difficult this is, with the collaboration of our experts and only with the compliance from the Assad regime, we do believe there is a way to get this done," he said.


First Published: Friday, September 13, 2013 - 16:30
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