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Kerry Calls On UN Security Council to Act on Syria

  • Zlatica Hoke

John Kerry talks about Syria and chemical weapons ahead of next week's United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 19, 2013.

John Kerry talks about Syria and chemical weapons ahead of next week's United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 19, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on the United Nations Security Council to act in unison to ensure the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. In an address Thursday in Washington, Kerry spoke of the importance of enforceable actions to rid the world of Syria's chemical weapons and aid a decisive action by the U.N. Security Council would help avoid a military strike on Syria and rid the world of the banned weapons.

"We need everyone's help in order to see that the Security Council lives up to its founding values and passes a binding resolution that codifies the strongest possible mechanism to achieve the goal and to achieve it rapidly. We need to make the Geneva agreement meaningful," said Kerry.

Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, agreed at a meeting in Geneva last week to remove Syria's chemical weapons from President Bashar al-Assad's control. Kerry insisted that the removal be real and verifiable.

President Assad denies that his forces have used chemical weapons and accuses the opposition of using the deadly gas to spark international outrage. Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated that position on Thursday.

"What if the opposition used them? Nobody says what we are to do in that case with the opposition. And it's not an idle question. We have every reason to believe that it is a provocation. A sly and ingenious one, but at the same time the execution is primitive. They took old Soviet-made ammunition that has been long removed from the stock in the Syrian army," said Putin.

Kerry said the U.N. report confirms unequivocally that the Syrian government used its chemical weapons stockpile.

"The world can decide whether it was used by the regime, which has used chemical weapons before, the regime which had the rockets, and the weapons, or whether the opposition secretly went unnoticed into territory they don't control to fire the rockets they don't have, containing sarin that they don't possess, to kill their own people, and that without even being noticed they just dissembled it all and packed up and got out of the center of Damascus, controlled by Assad. Please!"

The U.S.-Russian agreement calls for the elimination of all Syrian chemical weapons by the middle of next year. The government in Damascus is to allow U.N. inspectors to start working on the project by November.

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