Story by: Andrew Van Winkle
After three days of talks John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov reached an agreement. The US and Russia agreed on September 14 a framework that they would remove and destroy all of Syria’s chemical weapons. It definitely stalled the US military strikes on Syria that they were going to do as punishment for the deadly chemical weapons attack on a suburb in Damascus on August 21st .
The agreement states under the framework deal, the US and Russia will ask the organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to destroy Syria’s chemical weapon program, and for verification that it had happened.
The government of Syria was given until September 21 to submit a listing, including names, munitions, storage, and research and development facilities. Inspections of the chemical weapon sites will and must be completed by November. The munitions will also need to be destroyed by November. The complete elimination of the munitions must be completed by the first half of 2014.
The US and Russia agree that the chemicals and chemical agents must be destroyed outside of Syria if possible. But the framework says they could also be destroyed inside of Syria.
The US and Russia are working together on a UN security council resolution that includes steps to make sure verification and effective execution of the OPCW’s
disarmament plan. According to the framework “in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer,, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, The UN security council should impse measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter”. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made clear that his country remains opposed to any military action in Syria. September 16 he stressed that the framework does not mention a threat of Chapter VII measures being part of the resolution being drafted by the US and Russia. But US Secretary of State John Kerry said Lavrov had agreed to that part.
On 14 September, the UN confirmed Syria had come to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which commits members to destroying their stockpiles.
Seven days later, the OPCW confirmed it had received an expected disclosure from the Syrian government regarding its chemical weapons program. It declined to release details of what was in the declaration.
The US-Russia agreement says the two countries have reached an agreement that the type and amount of chemical weapons was indeed involved. A US official said that there were about 1,000 tons of chemical weapons including a blister agent, sulfur mustard, and saran nerve agent.