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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid