US President Barack Obama has welcomed a crucial deal with Russia to bring Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, but warned there would be “consequences” if the Assad regime does not comply with the agreement in a transparent, expeditious and verifiable manner.
After US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov hammered out the agreement on the Syrian chemical stockpile during talks in Geneva, Obama said the international community expects Syria to live up to its public commitments.
“While we have made important progress, much more work remains to be done. The US will continue working with Russia, the UK, France, the UN and others to ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today,” Obama said in a statement on Saturday.
“And, if diplomacy fails, the US remains prepared to act,” he said.
He reiterated that he had decided to take military action against the embattled regime after it allegedly used chemical weapons that left over 1,400 people dead.
After Russia proposed the initiative to bring the chemical weapons under international watch, Obama put on hold his planned military intervention.
“In part because of the credible threat of US military force, we now have the opportunity to achieve our objectives through diplomacy,” Obama said.
Kerry and Lavrov reached an agreement on a framework for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014