Saturday, September 14, 2013

U.S. and Russia Reach Agreement on Syria

Hopeful news:

GENEVA — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday they have reached an agreement on a framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons, and would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution that could authorize sanctions — short of military action — if President Bashar Assad’s government fails to comply.

The diplomats announced on the third day of intense negotiations in Geneva that some elements of the deal include a timetable and how Syria must comply.

Notably, Kerry said they had agreed on grounds under which they might request a Security Council “Chapter 7″ resolution, which could include military and non-military sanctions.

The U.S. and Russia are two of the five permanent Security Council members with a veto. The others are Britain, China, and France.

Lavrov called the agreements a “decision based on consensus and compromise and professionalism.” But with Russia almost certain to veto any resolution that included military action, Lavrov indicated the limits of using that potential action.

“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, concrete measures,” Lavrov said.

“Nothing is said about the use of force or about any automatic sanctions. All violations should be approved by the Security Council,” he added.

Kerry said any violations will result in “measures” from the Security Council, while Lavrov said the violations must be sent to the Security Council from the board of the chemical weapons convention before sanctions — short of the use of force — would be considered.

At a news conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, Kerry said the inspectors must be on the ground by November and destruction or removal of the chemical weapons must be completed by mid-2014.

If this holds, all the talk about Obama being hesitant and “all over the map” will be seen as crafty genius.

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