BEIJING, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- With Washington and Moscow now agreeing on an initial timetable for destroying or removing Syria's chemical arms, the efforts to defuse the chemical crisis returned to the right track.
The deal, reached Saturday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after long talks in Geneva, also reignited hopes for an ultimate political solution to the Syria issue.
The U.S.-Russian agreement stipulates a "comprehensive listing" of Syria's chemical arms, an international inspection by November and, most importantly, the destruction or removal of the chemical weapons by mid-2014.
The diplomatic breakthrough lessened the possibility of U.S. military action for the moment, and the proposed UN inspection, if proceeding smoothly and producing broadly-recognized results, will have long-term positive influence that extends far beyond the Middle East.
Meanwhile, substantial progress within the UN framework has also given cause for optimism about prospects for a peaceful end to the Syria chaos.
Clouds of uncertainty, however, loom over the deal. And concerns regarding the upcoming implementation process persist. The U.S.-Russia deal, as Lavrov put it, was only "the beginning," while in Kerry's words, the implementation of the framework presents a "hard road ahead."
For one thing, the deal, though prescribing no military options, does not rule out the possibility of military intervention; for another, Syria's volatile situation could still hamper or even halt the agreement's implementation.
In other words, the two-faceted Syrian crisis, an ongoing civil war plus threats of foreign military intervention, suggests a bumpy road ahead when the agreement is to be carried out.
Inside the country, there are scanty signs that things are changing for the better. The exiled opposition and its armed wing inside Syria have rejected the U.S.-Russia deal agreement and voiced determination to fight the government troops.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the Syria crisis as the world's biggest peace, security and humanitarian challenge at present, and many countries appear to agree that any unilateral foreign intervention, under whatever pretexts or in whatever means, will only aggravate the turmoil.
The U.S.-Russia deal is a good start, and the international community needs to help keep that good momentum and assist the UN to facilitate a political settlement so as to remove the sword of Damocles hanging over the Syrian people.
GENEVA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The United States and Russia reached an agreement on Saturday in Geneva on a framework to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons after the three-day intensive talks that started from Thursday in the Switzerland city.
Under the framework announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, an initial timetable of procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons has been developed: Syria must submit a "comprehensive listing" of its chemical weapons stockpiles in one week, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November and destruction or removal of the chemical weapons must be completed by mid-2014. Full story
WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday welcomed a U.S.-Russian a framework agreement for eliminating Syrian chemical weapons, but warned that the country remains to act if diplomacy fails.
In a statement released by the White House, Obama welcomed the progress made between Washington and Moscow through talks in Geneva, Switzerland, saying that the deal represents "an important, concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria's chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed." Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Saturday welcomed the framework agreed by Russia and the United States on eliminating Syria's chemical weapons.
"The Secretary-General welcomes the news that Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have reached an understanding regarding the safeguarding and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson. Full story