Russia has accused Western powers of limiting their efforts to guard Syrian chemical-arms shipments against rebel forces, ITAR-Tass reports.
The Russian foreign ministry on Tuesday defended a decision by its Damascus ally to pause chemical-weapon transfers to Syria’s Latakia seaport after opposition forces pushed into nearby territory in March. Foreign transport vessels are picking up warfare chemicals from the port city for destruction abroad under a disarmament plan backed last year by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.
Russia indicated it had tried unsuccessfully to convince Western governments “to exert influence on the opposition for normalizing the situation” in the surrounding province, where rebels had made military gains.
“In particular, the Western partners rejected Russia’s proposal for a special statement by the U.N. Security Council chairman,” according to Moscow.
Russian officials added, though, that chemical-arms shipments into Latakia had resumed, Interfax reported. Damascus placed an additional 64 metric tons of its stocks in international custody last week, meaning it has surrendered 59 percent of its stockpile, the foreign ministry stated.
The office said governments would meet an international goal to eliminate the Assad regime’s chemical stockpile before July “if no more hostilities are encountered on [chemical] convoys.”
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday attempted to deflect congressional criticism of the plan to eliminate the Syrian stocks, Time magazine reported. Assad’s government agreed to the proposal after a release of sarin nerve agent in a Damascus suburb last year prompted discussion of potential military intervention in Syria’s civil war.
“Would you rather drop a few bombs, send a message, and then have him [Assad] still with the [chemical] weapons and the capacity to deliver them, or would you rather get all of them out?” Kerry asked at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
When asked whether he favored possible armed action in Syria, Kerry said “there is a capacity to change Assad’s calculation.” He declined to elaborate at the hearing.
What We're Following See More »
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.