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 Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs