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US committed to Geneva-2 regardless of Syrian chemical weapons talks outcome - State Dept official

September 14, 2013, 2:48 UTC+3
Washington still held the Syrian government responsible for use chemical weapons
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

WASHINGTON, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - The United States is fully committed to the Geneva-2 process regardless of the outcome of ongoing negotiations over the possibility of placing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control with a view to their eventual elimination, a senior Department of State official told Itar-Tass on Friday on the condition of anonymity.

"No matter what happens with the chemical weapons negotiations, we are fully committed to a Geneva-2 process, fully," the diplomat said.

On the same day, as she answered ITAR-TASS questions at a regular news briefing, US Department of State deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that “the whole range of technical issues - identifying the stockpiles, verifying them, securing them and ultimately destroying them” was being discussed.

“Each component of that (process), as we all know, is very complicated, particularly in an active war zone,” Harf said.

The US diplomat was unable to say whether the US delegation in Geneva under Secretary of State John Kerry had already shared intelligence concerning the size of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

Nor was she able to confirm whether the negotiations with Russia’s delegation headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would go on Saturday.

“I don't have anything to announce in terms of the schedule tomorrow. I don't want to get ahead of where we are here or prejudge what paper might come out of what's going on in Geneva. That's all being discussed right now,” Harf said.

In Washington’s opinion, she remarked, the progress achieved “just in 72 hours is a stark contrast to where we were just a week or two ago.”

Harf is certain that the report by UN inspectors concerning a suspected gas attack near Damascus on August 21 would confirm the use of chemical weapons there.

“I'm confident, actually, that the U.N. report will reaffirm what we've long said. It's not going to assign blame, as we've also long said, but it will reaffirm that chemical weapons were used in Syria in large scale on August 21st,” Harf stated.

She reiterated that Washington still held the Syrian government responsible for that. Harf voiced the hope Russia would share with the United States its own intelligence information pointing to the one responsible for the tragic events.

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