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Kerry, Lavrov: Syria to Give Up the Stash in 1 Week—Maybe

John Kerry's remarks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after their meeting, at the Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland, September 14, 2013.

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Secretary Kerry shaking hands with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov (sitting), after the two have finalized an agreement on Syria in Geneva, Switzerland, September 14, 2013.

Secretary Kerry shaking hands with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov (sitting), after the two have finalized an agreement on Syria in Geneva, Switzerland, September 14, 2013.
Photo Credit: Dept. of State



Secretary Kerry: So let me, as Sergey did, comment on both sides of it, if I may. First of all, there are timelines in here, and it’s an ambitious goal, and the inspectors must be on the ground no later than November. And the goal is to complete the destruction and/or removal by halfway through next year, 2014. That is a stated goal within this framework.

In addition to that, there are requirements in the framework, which you will see, that automatically take noncompliance and/or some question of deviation from the framework will go to the Security Council for debate as to what measure might be implemented. But there is an agreement between Russia and the United States that noncompliance is going to be held accountable within the Security Council under Chapter 7. What remedy is chosen is subject to the debate within the council, which is always true, but there’s a commitment to impose measures. That’s the language, will impose measures commensurate with whatever is needed in terms of the accountability. We think that’s an appropriate process and –

Foreign Minister Lavrov: Should, should.

Secretary Kerry: Should. And as Sergey knows, under any circumstances, there would be a debate in the Security Council, even now. So there’s no diminishment, there’s no diminution of option. And it’s impossible, obviously, under these circumstances, to have a pre-agreement as to what that specific sanction might or might not be for circumstances that we don’t even know yet. Our hope is that we have a tight enough regimen that is agreed upon, as we have said, in the extraordinary measures that we have laid out.

We have actually agreed on the new process, on a more vigorous process, and a more defined process – for instance, the unfettered access of inspectors that is not in normal CWC procedure. But it will be embraced through a UN resolution as part of the process that exists here. So we have high anticipation that, as I said, if fully implemented, this will have an ability to be both verifiable, accountable, and the world will make its judgments as we go along.

Now with respect to the question of the use of force, first of all, the President of the United States, under our Constitution, as Commander-in-Chief, always retains the right to defend the United States of America and our interests, and he always has that right. Even as he asked Congress to approve, he retained a declared and understandable time-honored right with respect to his power as Commander-in-Chief. But the President also said he wanted to find a diplomatic solution to this. Now the potential of a threat of force is clearly one of those options that may or may not be available to the Security Council, and a subject to debate. Everybody knows the differences of opinion about it. But depending on what Assad does, that possibility exists either within the process of the United Nations, or as it did here, with a decision by the President of the United States and likeminded allies if they thought that was what it came to.

I think the President sending me here and directing me to work with my counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, as President Putin sent him here, indicates that both presidents believe the preferred route, which I think is the preferred route of most of the citizens of the world, is to find a peaceful solution to these kinds of conflicts. And that’s what I think we have worked in good faith to try to do here today.

Question: (Via interpreter) Kommersant newspaper. If you have agreed about the quantity of chemical weapons, the volumes, and where it is going to be destroyed, on the Syrian territory or in a third country, and who’s going to pay for that?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: (Via interpreter) …In the documents you are going to receive, they have the evaluations of our expert, estimated evaluations, by the final conclusion on these issues as well as others will adopt the organizing council of the organization. And the document have a common approach of the terms of the procedures and the volumes, but I would like to reiterate that this should be agreed in the framework of the OPCW and in the executive committee framework.

Jewish Press Staff

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