Kerry Team Pushes to Build on Syria Disarmament Plan

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 12, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

De­vel­op­ing a thor­ough plan to elim­in­ate the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s chem­ic­al arms is the fo­cus of arms-con­trol ex­perts ac­com­pa­ny­ing U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry for talks sched­uled to start on Thursday with Rus­sia, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

A high-level State De­part­ment in­sider said the two coun­tries were ex­pec­ted to ex­am­ine over­laps and dis­tinc­tions in their re­spect­ive in­tel­li­gence on Syr­ia’s “chem­ic­al weapons stock­piles,… pro­duc­tion fa­cil­it­ies, pre­curs­or chem­ic­als and [any] mu­ni­tions that are used to spread those chem­ic­al weapons,” the New York Times re­por­ted.

En­sur­ing the safety of any chem­ic­al-arms mon­it­ors in the war-torn Middle East­ern coun­try is one prac­tic­al con­sid­er­a­tion that ne­go­ti­at­ors would con­sider in Geneva, Switzer­land. Their dis­cus­sions might con­tin­ue through Sat­urday.

Mo­scow has sent Wash­ing­ton its pro­pos­al for hand­ling the weapons, the Lon­don Tele­graph said, cit­ing Rus­si­an press re­ports from Wed­nes­day.

A Rus­si­an dip­lo­mat­ic in­sider said the plan calls for Syr­ia ini­tially to ac­cede to an in­ter­na­tion­al chem­ic­al-weapons ban, the Rus­si­an news­pa­per Kom­mersant re­por­ted, ac­cord­ing to the Tele­graph. Dam­as­cus sub­sequently would dis­close its chem­ic­al-arms man­u­fac­tur­ing and hold­ing sites, which aud­it­ors then would vis­it, the source ad­ded. A deal would fol­low to es­tab­lish ex­act mech­an­isms for elim­in­at­ing the stocks, the un­named of­fi­cial said.

The Rus­si­an en­voy sug­ges­ted Wash­ing­ton and Mo­scow could jointly handle the Syr­i­an ar­sen­al un­der the aus­pices of the Nunn-Lugar Co­oper­at­ive Threat Re­duc­tion ini­ti­at­ive.

“We have seen more co­oper­a­tion and help­ful activ­ity on this mat­ter from the Rus­si­ans in the last two days than we’ve seen in the last two years,” White House spokes­man Jay Car­ney said in a Wed­nes­day press brief­ing. “The pro­pos­al they put for­ward is very spe­cif­ic; Syr­ia’s re­ac­tion to it changes the po­s­i­tion they’ve held for years and is a total about-face from the po­s­i­tion Bashar [As­sad] held three days ago. And that is sig­ni­fic­ant.”

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