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Russia, US sign framework agreement on Syrian chemical weapons

September 14, 2013, 18:15 UTC+3
The document says further that the U.S. and Russia have devised a measure of the Syrian side’s accountability for their chemical weapons
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GENEVA, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russia and the United States have signed a framework agreement, in which they “express their joint determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program /CW/ in the soonest and safest manner.”

“For this purpose, the United States and the Russian Federation have committed to prepare and to submit in the next few days to the Executive Council of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons /OPCW/ a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof,” the document says. “The United States and the Russian Federation believe that these extraordinary procedures are necessitated by the prior use of these weapons in Syria and the volatility of the Syrian civil war.”

The agreement says that the U.S. and Russia will make efforts to ensure a prompt drafting and adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that will reinforce the decision of the OPCW Executive Council.

“This resolution will contain steps to ensure its verification and effective implementation and will request that the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with the OPCW, submit recommendations to the UN Security Council on an expedited basis regarding the UN’s role in eliminating the Syrian chemical weapons program,” the agreement says.

“The U.S. and the RF concur that this UN Security Council resolution should provide a review on a regular basis the implementation in Syria of the decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW, and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

“In the furtherance of the objective to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons program, the United States and the Russian Federation have reached a shared assessment of the amount and type of the chemical weapons involved, and are committed to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in Syria.”

The document says that the two high contracting parties expect Syria “to submit within a week, a comprehensive listing, including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities.”

“We further determined that the most effective control of these weapons may be achieved by removal of the largest amounts of weapons feasible, under OPCW supervision, and their destruction outside of Syria, if possible,” the agreement says.

It indicates that Russia and the U.S. have put forward “ambitious goals for the removal and destruction of all categories of CW related materials and equipment” and for completing this removal and destruction of the weaponry in the first half of 2014.

“In addition to chemical weapons, stocks of chemical weapons agents, their precursors, specialized CW equipment, and CW munitions themselves, the elimination process must include the facilities for the development and production of these weapons,” the agreement says.

The document says further that the U.S. and Russia have devised a measure of the Syrian side’s accountability for their chemical weapons. “[…] the Syrians must provide the OPCW, the UN, and other supporting personnel with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria,” it says.

“The extraordinary procedures to be proposed by the United States and the Russian Federation for adoption by the OPCW Executive Council and reinforced by a UN Security Council resolution, as described above, should include a mechanism to ensure this right,” the agreement reads.

“Under this framework, personnel under both the OPCW and UN mandate should be dispatched as rapidly as possible to support control, removal, and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities,” it says.

“The two sides intend to work closely together, and with the OPCW, the UN, all Syrian parties, and with other interested member states with relevant capabilities to arrange for the security of the monitoring and destruction mission, recognizing the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government in this regard,” the agreement says.

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