EU, NATO express support deal on Syria

EU High Representative Ashton and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen welcomed agreement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons

EU, NATO express support deal on Syria

World Bulletin/News Desk

The European Union and NATO hailed the agreement reached by US State Secretary John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday on a roadmap to destroy Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons by mid-2014.

In a statement, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said she welcomed the agreement and called on the UN Security Council to assume its responsibilities in agreeing swiftly on a resolution to give further authority to the whole process.

"I join the US and the Russian Federation in demanding that Syria provide the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the UN and other supporting personnel with immediate rights and unfettered access to inspect any and all sites in Syria. I welcome the statement of commitment by the Syrian authorities immediately to apply the Chemical Weapons Convention on a provisional basis prior to its entry into force."

Ashton also urged all partners in the international community to support the swift holding of a peace conference on Syria.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: "This is an important step towards the goal of ensuring the swift, secure and verifiable elimination of Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons."

According to Rasmussen, full and unreserved compliance from the Syria government "is now key."

"The international community has a responsibility to make sure that the long-standing norm and practice against the use of chemical weapons is maintained, and violators are held accountable. The agreement should give further momentum to a political solution to end the horrendous bloodshed in Syria."

The US-Russian agreement sees Syria submit details of the transfer of chemical weapons within a week.

The initiative further means international inspectors would be sent on the ground by November and the "destruction and/or removal" of Syria's chemical weapons would be completed by mid-2014.

In a joint press appearance on Saturday with Lavrov, Kerry said the Syrian regime would have one week to provide experts from Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with "immediate and unfettered" access to its chemical weapons program.

Kerry also said the UN Security Council would impose measures in case of non-compliance by Assad regime.

Lavrov said the deal "was only the beginning of the road," and added: "Deal say nothing about using force against the regime.

Last Mod: 15 Eylül 2013, 13:49
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