According to a Sept. 14 report from The Associated Press, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who have been engaged in intense negotiations in Geneva over how to deal with Syria’s chemical weapons, have reached an agreement.
Coming on the third day of negotiations, Kerry reported that the group had reached "a shared assessment" of the existing hoard of weapons and that Syria will be told to destroy their stockpile under threat of military action.
If Syria fails to comply, Kerry said, the U.S. and its allies will move forward with U.N. Security Council approval to hit Syria with a military strike, one that Obama said he postponed last week in his address to the nation.
“We have committed to a standard that says, verify and verify,” Kerry said.
Kerry’s counterpart Lavrov called their agreement a "decision based on consensus and compromise and professionalism," and indicated that the United Nations would closely monitor Syria’s response.
“Any violations of procedures… would be looked at by the Security Council and if they are approved, the Security Council would take the required measures, concrete measures," Lavrov said.
Details of the plan were released, and the months-long timetable would seem to ease any imminent threat of U.S.-led military action.
“Under the deal, Syria must provide a full catalog of its chemical arsenal within a week and allow United Nations inspectors to start working no later than November. The plan envisions the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons by mid-2014,” reports MSN.
Kerry brought up the idea of avoiding a U.S. strike if Syria were to turn over or destroy all of its chemical weapons – a notion that Kerry thought the Syrian government would quickly shoot down. However, the Syrian foreign minister present at the negotiations welcomed the idea.
Kerry was quick to issue a warning though: “There can be no games,” Kerry said.