A senior Russian diplomat on Thursday said his nation would not accept any Syrian chemical-arms shipment to its territory under plans to subject the weapons to international monitoring and destruction, Reuters reported.
“There can be no doubt — we will not do this,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. An international treaty prohibits such transfers, and domestic legal restrictions also would prevent the United States from importing the weapons, he added in comments reported by the Russian government news agency RIA Novosti.
“We believe the destruction (of chemical weapons) on Syrian territory is the best option,” he said. Interfax quoted him as saying Russian officials “will be ready to help in guarding” Syrian chemical-arms facilities where work is being carried out.
Meanwhile, Moscow and Washington have hammered out broad parameters of a U.N. Security Council resolution on their plan to rid the Syrian government of its chemical-warfare stockpile, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The draft would allow for potential penalties in response to any noncompliance by Damascus, but the text would not contain an outright endorsement of possible military strikes.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad reportedly said his government holds weapons more potent than chemical arms, Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper reported.
“Initially, we manufactured chemical arms in the 80s as a deterrent weapon to confront Israel’s nuclear arsenal,” the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar on Thursday quoted him as saying.
“Now, they are no longer a deterrent weapon. Today, we have more important and more sophisticated weapons that can blind Israel in a moment.”
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When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.