US, Russia in cohorts on Syrian chemical weapons seizure
The Washington Post reported that the governments of United States and Russia had agreed on Saturday to seize and destroy an array of Syria's chemical weapons. Both governments had issued a demand to Syria to turn over the accounting of its biological arsenal within the week.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who represented United States in a series of meetings with Russia in Geneva, Switzerland, said United Nations would be backing the agreement with a Security Council resolution. Syria would then be facing consequences if it chooses not to comply. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who represented Russia, stressed however that the document detailing the agreement do not have the force of the law yet.
On the other hand, Syrian rebel commander Gen. Salim Idriss expressed his disappointment over the agreement. "Don't leave the Syrians alone, facing and resisting this criminal regime. We feel let down by the international community. We don't have any hope."
US officials on Kerry's travel itinerary said that the US had the belief that the government of Syria has around 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapon materials in 45 sites. One of the officials said that the arsenal included blister and nerve agents like sarin. Sarin gas was the weapon used on a local attack last August 21, leaving many dead.
The United States has been pioneering efforts to reduce chemical weapons since late 1960s. However, programs to destroy chemical weapons had been very expensive. In a 2011 budget proposal that was submitted to Congress, the fund allocation was over USD500 million for just two of the destruction sites.