US and Russia Agree to Remove Chemical Weapons from Syria

The United States and Russia have come to an agreement on the topic of Syria. After three days of talks held in Switzerland, both nations — represented by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — have agreed on a “framework” to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Syria’s civil war has been ongoing for two years and has left more than 100,000 people dead, most notably in the recent chemical weapons attacks on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. The “framework” includes the total confiscation of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. The country must submit a list of its chemical weapons arsenal within a week and allow the “unfettered access of inspectors.” Initial inspections of chemical weapons sites is to be completed by November, as well as the complete destruction of all the elements and equipment used to produce the WMDs. Under the new plan, both nations hope to clean out the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile by early 2014. Left out of the new plan was the mention of using force. “There is nothing said about the use of force or any automatic sanctions,” Kerry added. “As I said, all violations should be approved in the Security Council convincingly and we understand that the decision that we’ve reached today is only the beginning of the process.”