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U.S. not concerned about efforts to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons

English.news.cn   2014-02-06 08:00:50

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The White House said on Wednesday that it was not concerned about a program to eliminate Syria's stockpiled chemical weapons falling apart as a result of slow progress in Damascus's removal of the deadly agents.

Spokesman Jay Carney made the remarks as the Syrian government had failed to meet two deadlines, first shipping the most dangerous chemicals out of the country by Dec. 31, 2013, and then removing all other required chemicals by Feb. 5.

"We're not concerned it's falling apart," Carney said at a regular news briefing, adding "We're ensuring and making our views known that Syria must abide by its commitments."

Russia suggested removing from Syria its stockpile of chemical weapons last year, as Washington and its allies threatened air strikes on government targets inside Syria in response to Damascus 's alleged use of sarin gas in battles with the opposition forces.

A UN Security Council resolution requires the Syrian government to move all of its chemical agents to its port of Lattakia to be transported to a ship in the sea and other destinations for destruction.

The whole process is set to be completed by June 30. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said on Jan. 30 that Damascus had moved "less than 5 percent" of the chemicals to Lattakia.

"I would note that Russia has said it expects the al-Assad regime to deliver a substantial portion of its chemical weapons stockpile in the relatively near future, and we obviously believe that's very important," Carney said.

"Russia has a lot at stake here," he added. "Russia has staked a lot of credibility in the role that Russia played in helping bring about this agreement."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called the chemical weapons deal "a significant milestone in and of itself."

"It is progressing," he told CNN in an interview. "Yes, it's been slowed down a little bit in the last month, but we have been raising that profile of questions about it and I think it's now speeding up again."

He rejected the idea that Washington's policy on Syria has failed, saying the policy "is just very challenging and very difficult."

The top American envoy saw "a sort of a stalemate at this moment" in fighting between Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition forces. "I would describe the situation simply that al-Assad is not winning, but he's also not losing."

The first round of peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition ended in Geneva late last month but made no progress. Talks are expected to resume within days over how to end the conflict that started in March 2011.

Editor: Shen Qing
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