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Sep 15, 2013

Kerry reassures Israel on bid to rid Syria of chemical arms

JERUSALEM, Sept 15 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry assured Israel on Sunday a U.S.-Russian deal to remove
Syria’s chemical weapons would be effective, addressing concern
that a lack of resolve would embolden Iran in its nuclear drive.

“We cannot have hollow words in the conduct of international
affairs, because that affects all other issues, whether Iran or
North Korea or others,” Kerry said after talks with Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sep 15, 2013

Netanyahu gives guarded response to Syrian chemical weapons deal

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday on a U.S.-Russian deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons, an accord that drew a guarded response from the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu, in a speech before the meeting, said the agreement would be judged on whether it achieved “the complete destruction” of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpiles, and he pointed toward Iran’s nuclear program as another test of world resolve.

Sep 15, 2013

Kerry-Lavrov rapport smoothed path to Syria deal

GENEVA (Reuters) – The deal between the United States and Russia on Syrian chemical weapons was due in no small part to the labors of foreign policy veterans with contrasting styles: Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

While their bosses, presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, get on poorly and can stoop to point scoring, the two ministers have what diplomats like to call “a good working relationship.”

Sep 15, 2013

U.S., Russia agree on Syria weapons, Obama says force still option

GENEVA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Russia and the United States put aside bitter differences over Syria to strike a deal on Saturday that by removing President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal may avert U.S. military action against him.

After three days of talks in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded Assad account for his secret stockpile within a week and let international inspectors eliminate all the weapons by the middle of next year – an “ambitious” target, Kerry said.

Sep 14, 2013

U.S., Russia agree deal on Syria chemical weapons

GENEVA, Sept 14 (Reuters) – The United States and Russia
agreed on Saturday on a proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical
weapons arsenal, averting the possibility of any immediate U.S.
military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the agreement after nearly
three days of talks in Geneva.

Sep 13, 2013

U.S. sees signs of progress in talks with Russia on Syria’s chemical weapons

GENEVA, Sept 13 (Reuters) – The United States and Russia, in
talks to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program, are “coming
to agreement” on the size of its toxic stockpiles, a U.S.
official said on Friday.

The talks in Geneva between teams led by U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov,
which began on Thursday, are at a “pivotal point” and are
continuing into Saturday, the official told reporters.

Sep 13, 2013

U.S. and Russia at a ‘pivotal point’ in Syria talks

GENEVA/BEIRUT, Sept 13 (Reuters) – U.S.-Russian talks on
eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons program have reached a
“pivotal point,” a U.S. official said, and both nations said on
Friday they wanted to renew efforts to negotiate a peaceful end
to the war in Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Geneva to discuss a Russian
proposal under which Syria would sign international treaties
banning chemical weapons and hand over its stocks of such
weapons to the international community for destruction.

Sep 13, 2013

High-stakes U.S.-Russian talks open, Syria to join chemical arms ban

GENEVA/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States and Russia began high-stakes talks on Thursday on Moscow’s plan for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons as Damascus formally applied to join a global poison gas ban, but Secretary of State John Kerry underscored that U.S. military force may still be necessary if diplomacy fails.

“This is not a game,” Kerry said in an appearance with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after opening talks in Geneva aimed at fleshing out Russia’s plan to secure and dispose of Syria’s stockpiles of chemical arms.

Sep 12, 2013

U.S., Russia differ on military force as Syria talks open

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov opened talks on Thursday on disarming Syria’s chemical weapons programs, but differences emerged at the outset of the expected two-day negotiations.

Kerry reiterated the U.S. position that military force might be needed against Syria if diplomacy over President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile fails.

Sep 12, 2013

Russia, U.S. work on deal to disarm Syria of poison gas

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Geneva on Thursday to hear Russia’s plans to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons and avert U.S.-led military strikes, an initiative that has transformed diplomacy over a two-and-a-half year old civil war.

U.S. officials said Kerry would insist any deal force Syria to take rapid steps to show it is serious about abandoning its chemical arsenal, senior U.S. officials said ahead of Kerry’s talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.