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US-Russia deal: Timeline for destroying Syria's chemical weapons

The US-Russia deal calls for international inspectors to be in Syria by November, and all chemical weapons destroyed by mid-2014. Syria has until Sept. 21 to supply chemical weapons inventory.

By John Heilprin and Matthew LeeAssociated Press / September 14, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shake hands after making statements following meetings regarding Syria, at a news conference in Geneva.

REUTERS/Larry Downing

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Geneva

 US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reached agreement Saturday on a framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons, and said they would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution that could authorize sanctions — short of military action — if President Bashar Assad's government fails to comply.

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The deal announced by the diplomats on the third day of intense negotiations in Geneva includes what Kerry called "a shared assessment" of Syria's weapons stockpile, and a timetable and measures for Syria to comply.

The deal calls for international inspectors to be on the ground in Syria by November and to complete their initial work by the end of that that month. All of Syria's chemical weapons stocks, material and equipment would have to be destroyed or removed by mid-2014.

But the stakes have been especially high in Geneva, because the negotiations between the United States and Russia on securing Syria's chemical weapons also are considered key to breaking the international stalemate that has so far blocked a resumption of peace talks to end the Syrian civil war, now in its third year.

"We have committed to a standard that says, verify and verify," Kerry told a packed news conference in the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, where he has been staying and the negotiations were conducted since Thursday night.

Among the highlights of the agreement is that the U.S. and Russia would agree to work together on a new, binding Security Council resolution that would ensure verification of the agreement to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stocks and remove its capability to produce such weapons.

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