WASHINGTON, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the framework agreement reached by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Syria’s chemical weapons at their talks in Geneva on Saturday, September 14.
“I welcome the progress made between the United States and Russia through our talks in Geneva, which represents an important, concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria's chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed,” Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.
He noted that the framework “provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world.”
However, Obama stressed that the international community expects the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments.
He also said that despite important progress “much more work remains to be done.” “The United States will continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations and others to ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today. And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act,” the president said.
Obama reiterated his country’s position that holds Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the chemical attack outside Damascus on August 21. “Following the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons to kill more than 1,000 men, women, and children on August 21, I decided that the United States must take action to deter the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons, degrade their ability to use them, and make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military force, we now have the opportunity to achieve our objectives through diplomacy.”
The president thanked Kerry for his “tireless and effective efforts” and instructed Ambassador Samantha Power to lead follow-on negotiations at the U.N. Security Council in New York.
Obama stressed that “the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world is an affront to human dignity and a threat to the security of people everywhere. We have a duty to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children. Today marks an important step towards achieving this goal.”