US lauds Syria over dismantling of chemical arms

US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry has praised the Syrian government for quickly starting the process of dismantling its chemical weapons arsenal.

“The process has begun in record time and we are appreciative for the Russian co-operation and obviously for the Syrian compliance,” Kerry said.

Kerry made the remarks at a news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Monday.

On September 14, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal under which Syria had to account for its chemical weapons stockpiles within a week and see them eliminated by the middle of 2014.

Syria agreed to the deal, thus averting a US military strike on the Arab nation over a chemical attack in Damascus that Washington had blamed on the Syrian government. Damascus strongly rejected the allegation, saying the attack had been carried out by the foreign-backed militants to draw in military intervention.

The UN Security Council on September 27 unanimously approved a resolution condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria and calling for their elimination.

A team of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has begun the process of destroying Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons and the machinery used to produce them.

The OPCW team arrived in Damascus on October 1 to verify details of the arsenal turned over by the Syrian government.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official on the joint OPCW-UN delegation said on Sunday that “The first day of destruction and disabling is over and missile warheads, aerial bombs, along with mobile and static mixing and filling units, were dealt with. Work continues tomorrow and in the next few days.”

“I think it’s extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed,” the US Secretary of State said.

He said the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deserves credit for the quick implementation of the chemical weapons deal.

“I think it’s a credit to the Assad regime, frankly. It’s a good beginning and we welcome a good beginning,” Kerry added.

Syria has been gripped by deadly turmoil since 2011.

By Press TV


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