Russia chemicals plan doable, says US

WASHINGTON - Russia's plan to dismantle Syria's chemical arsenal is "doable but difficult", according to US officials.

The Russian and US foreign ministers are due to hold talks in Geneva over the plan, which involves Syria handing its stockpile to foreign observers.

Both sides are taking teams of experts, saying the disarmament process could be long and highly complex.

The US accuses the Syrian regime of killing hundreds in a poison-gas attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21 August.

The regime denies the allegations, but has agreed to abide by Russia's disarmament plan.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on Russian television to confirm that Syria would concede control of its chemical weapons.

But he said it was because of a Russian initiative on the issue and not the threat of American military action.

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has now outlined three main phases of the proposal:

    Syria joins the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production and use of the weapons
    Syria reveals where its chemical weapons are stored and gives details of its programme
    Experts decide on the specific measures to be taken

Mr Lavrov, completing a visit to Kazakhstan, said: "I am sure that there is a chance for peace in Syria. We cannot let it slip away."

He did not mention the destruction of the weapons, which is thought to be a sticking point in Moscow's negotiations with Damascus.

He is due to discuss the plan with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who will first hold talks with UN-Arab League Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

The US postponed plans to launch military strikes on Syria after Russia proposed the disarmament earlier this week.

Russian media have hailed the move as a diplomatic coup.

President Vladimir Putin affirmed this view by writing an opinion piece in the New York Times lambasting US policy, saying strikes would lead to an upsurge in terrorism.

"The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the Pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders," he wrote.

Comments (3)


martin - 12 September 2013

@ Martin hope you support americans always for bullying other nations .

Zim man - 13 September 2013

Martin have ever thought about what thw americans would use to attack syria and how many civilians would die?

Gatsi Rusere - 13 September 2013

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