September 14, 2013 - 15:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United States and Russia have agreed on a proposal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday, Sept 14, after nearly three days of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
According to a Reuters report, Kerry said that, under the pact, Syria must submit a "comprehensive listing" of its chemical weapons stockpiles within one week.
Earlier, a U.S. official said that the talks have reached a "pivotal point."
U.S. President Barack Obama, after a meeting in Washington with Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, reiterated that he would insist any deal on Syria's chemical weapons be "verifiable and enforceable.
In Washington, senior Obama administration officials said the United States did not expect a UN Security Council resolution formalizing the deal to include potential use of military force. But officials said Obama retained that option.
Independent of the United Nations, Obama has threatened the use of force in response to an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria that U.S. officials say killed about 1,400 people. But as part of negotiations toward a UN resolution, the United States sees no benefit in trying to include the potential use of force.
Russia holds a veto on the Security Council and previously used it on three occasions when Western powers sought to condemn Assad over the war in Syria. President Vladimir Putin has said the proposal on chemical weapons will only succeed if the United States and its allies rule out the use of force.
The U.S. officials who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity said the UN resolution could include a range of consequences should Syria refuse to give up chemical weapons in a verifiable way. Those consequences could include sanctions.
In Geneva, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the effort toward the UN resolution was in its early stages.
"We are not going to prejudge the outcome of negotiations that are just beginning in New York. The U.S. has been clear that for any effort to be credible, it must be verifiable and include consequences for noncompliance," she said.
The Syrian opposition coalition, which has struggled to form a coherent response to the Russian proposal, said it would appoint a provisional prime minister on Saturday to raise its international credibility.