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US expects Syria to abide by chemical weapons timeline

Last Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 09:32

Washington: The US on Thursday said it expects the Syrian government to abide by the timeline on chemical weapons, even as it called on Russia to hold the Assad regime accountable.

"We expect the Syrian regime to abide by the timeline in the framework and for Russia to hold the Assad regime to account," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.

"We would need to stress that these are timelines and goals, and we are all aware that something as complicated as destroying a massive stockpile of chemical weapons takes time," he said.

The United States, Carney said, is working with the Russians on a framework that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov worked out with their teams to implement a programme that would identify, verify and remove from Assad`s control, the chemical weapons stockpiles in that country.

"And this is obviously a complicated piece of business. I don`t have a cost figure associated with it," Carney said.

"What I can tell you is that it would be in the interests of the Syrian people, the interests of the people of the region, the interests of the US and the people of the world to see those chemical weapons stockpiles safely removed from Syria or removed from Assad`s control and destroyed so that he cannot use them again in the deplorably indiscriminate way that he used them against his own people," he said.

Carney said that the use of those weapons is the absolute clear responsibility of the Assad regime.

"The UN report, the inspector`s report, reinforces what we`ve been saying and what many nations around the world have agreed with us in saying, that Assad was responsible for the attacks on August 21st," Carney said.

"Attempts to suggest otherwise have become farcical in their weirdness and their dissociation from established facts," he said.

"But none of that matters so much as the fact that Syria has now, for the first time in its history, acknowledged that they have chemical weapons and agreed to rid themselves of chemical weapons," Carney said.

"And Russia has obviously joined with the United States in producing this framework for achieving that. Now, there`s a lot of work to be done, but this is a significant development over these past days, and we`re going about the business of trying to make it happen," he said in response to a question.


First Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 09:32

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