The United States on Wednesday indicated it no longer expects Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime to fully disclose its chemical-warfare assets this week, an expectation established several days ago under a U.S.-Russian plan for Damascus to eventually relinquish the stocks, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Our goal is to see forward momentum,” but not necessarily a full declaration, before Sunday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “We’ve never said it was a hard and fast deadline,” the spokeswoman added.
Several days ago, Secretary of State John Kerry said he and Russia’s top diplomat had decided Damascus would have one week to provide “a comprehensive listing” of its chemical-weapon assets. Washington would permit “no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance,” he said then.
A senior Russian diplomat on Wednesday said Damascus “within a week” would send a chemical-arms declaration to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, ITAR-Tass reported. The Russian state-owned news agency did not specify whether the information would amount to a complete disclosure.
The 41-nation OPCW Executive Council is set on Friday to begin discussing formal procedures for eliminating the Assad government’s chemical arsenal, the Wall Street Journal reported. One expert said the council is likely to adopt a U.S.-Russian timeline calling for full destruction of the stockpile by the middle of next year, though the multilateral body is not obligated to do so.
Separately, Moscow intends by Friday to circulate Syrian-government indications that Assad’s opponents have carried out chemical strikes, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in Thursday remarks quoted by ITAR-Tass.
In a Wednesday interview with Fox News, Assad challenged Washington to foot the bill for destroying the arms and “take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States,” Reuters reported. He also reaffirmed denials that his government had used its chemical arms in the Syrian civil war, now in its third year.
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Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.
And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."
The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.