U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva, Switzerland, September 12-14, to discuss matters concerning Syria, including the use of chemical weapons and steps to address these developments.
Taking into account the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the commitment of the Syrian authorities to provisionally apply the Convention prior to its entry into force, the United States and the Russian Federation expressed their joint determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program (CW) in the soonest and safest manner. In furtherance of the objective to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program, the United States and the Russian Federation have reached a shared assessment of the amount and type of chemical weapons involved, and are committed to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in Syria. You can read more about these efforts in the Framework for the Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons.
Following his meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, Secretary Kerry said, "...Diplomacy requires willing partners. And I want to thank President Putin for his willingness to pick up on the possibility of negotiating an end to Syrian weapons of mass destruction. His willingness to embrace ideas for how to accomplish this goal, and his willingness to send Foreign Minister Lavrov here to pursue this effort was essential to getting to this point. And I want to thank Sergey Lavrov for his diligent efforts and the efforts of his entire delegation, who worked hard and in good faith to overcome difficulties, and even disagreements, in order to try to find a way, through tireless efforts, to get us where we are today."
Secretary Kerry continued, "...I also want to be clear about the endgame here. If we can join together and make this framework a success and eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, we would not only save lives, but we would reduce the threat to the region, and reinforce an international standard, an international norm. We could also lay the groundwork for further cooperation that is essential to end the bloodshed that has consumed Syria for more than two years.
"What we agreed on here today could conceivably be the first critical, concrete step in that direction. The United States and Russia have long agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. It has to be political. It has to happen at the negotiating table. And we, together, remain deeply committed to getting there. From the beginning, President Obama has repeated again and again there is no military solution. We must find a political solution through diplomacy."
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