September 13, 2013
Kerry, Lavrov Say Geneva Meeting Could Help Revive Syria Peace Talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, have held "constructive" talks on ending Syria's chemical weapons program.
The two leaders met Friday with U.N. Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva. They discussed a Russian plan on how to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control and avert a U.S. military strike. Kerry later met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Kerry says he and Lavrov have agreed to do "homework" as part of a bid to get Syria's warring factions to a conference on a transitional government.
"We both agreed to do that homework and meet again in New York around the time of the U.N. General Assembly, around the 28th, in order to see if it is possible then to find a date for that conference."
Syria has joined an international chemical weapons ban, but insists it has one month to provide details on its chemical weapons stockpile. President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday he will only finalize the deal to remove the chemical weapons if the U.S. stops threatening to attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday praised Syria's decision to join the global poison gas ban, saying it shows the "serious intentions" of the Syrian government toward resolving the conflict.
Kerry says Syria should act quickly. On Thursday, he warned that U.S. forces may still be necessary if Washington is not satisfied with Mr. Assad's response.
U.S. President Barack Obama has threatened military strikes on Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack last month on a rebel-held area of Damascus that Washington says killed 1,400 people.
The U.S. says the Syrian government is responsible for the attack. Damascus denies this, saying the rebels carried out the attack. Russia, Syria's main international ally, has also denied that the Syrian government is responsible.