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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid