News / Middle East

US: Assad Must Meet Chemical Weapons Deadline

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement at a joint news conference with Germany's foreign minister (not pictured) at Berlin Tegel Airport, Jan. 31, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement at a joint news conference with Germany's foreign minister (not pictured) at Berlin Tegel Airport, Jan. 31, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria is not meeting international obligations to destroy its chemical weapons under a deal brokered by the United States and Russia. Kerry is meeting foreign and defense ministers at a security conference in Munich.

A month past the deadline to remove Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons, Kerry says the United States is deeply concerned by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's failure to meet the timetable. Assad agreed to the schedule with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW.

"Bashar al-Assad is not, in our judgment, fully in compliance because of the timing and the delays that have taken place contrary to the OPCW's judgment that this could move faster," he said.

Kerry spoke to reporters alongside German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Steinmeir said Syrian delay risks Russia's standing on this issue as well.

"They're not only toying with their own credibility," he said. "But after the first talks with the Americans, the Russian side was also in on this. So they are also toying with the credibility of the Russian side."

Syria's government says security and logistical obstacles have slowed the collection and transportation of its chemical weapons. Kerry says he will continue to press his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to keep this plan on track.

"Russia is a partner in this effort. And Russia obviously plays a critical role in helping the Syrians to understand their obligation of compliance," he said.

The deal helped President Assad avoid U.S. President Barack Obama's threat of military action to prevent continued use of chemical weapons in Syria. Kerry says all options remain on the table if Syria continues to delay moving all chemical agents and related compounds to the port of Latakia.

"Every indication we have is there is no legitimate reason that that is not happening now," he said. "And therefore we call on Bashar al-Assad to live up to his obligations. Or we will join together with our friends and talk about which if any of the options we deem necessary at this point to proceed forward."

The United States says less than five percent of those chemical agents have been brought to the port, from which they can be taken to a U.S. Navy ship to be neutralized. Steinmeier said that once it's made safe, two-thirds of the material will then be destroyed in Germany.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
February 02, 2014 6:43 PM
Assad has resorted from chemical weapons to conventional. Using conventional are even worse. There is more pain and destruction when he uses conventional weapons. There is by far more permanent destruction and a serious impact on our (the world's) environment. He needs to be forced to stop what he is doing. Cities, towns, villages, turned to dust, thousands of innocent lives. These barrel bombs kill civilians, anyone on the street. This is a disgrace to the world and bashar al assad should be considered a "Criminal on the loose" nothing less.

by: MikeBarnett from: USA
February 02, 2014 4:55 PM
In any action during a war, both sides get a vote. If the rebels refuse to grant safe passage for convoys of chemical weapons to reach Latakia, the US and NATO may need to cooperate with President Assad's forces with targeting information on rebel positions that block the routes. I do not advocate a general intervention, but the removal of the chemical weapons has been agreed, and the provision of targeting information does not require troops and munitions from the US and NATO.

by: Anonymous
February 01, 2014 12:58 AM
Assad should be on his own hands and knees bottling it all up. Instead him and his hired hands are too busy killing more Syrians.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs