Obama: US & Russia Made Important Step toward Destroying Syria’s Chemical Weapons

A framework agreement reached between the United States and Russia during talks in Geneva “represents an important, concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria’s chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed,” U.S. President Barack Obama said on September 14th.

“This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world,” the U.S. President said in a statement released by White House officials.

The international community expects the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments, Obama added.

More work remains to be done, according to Obama. The United States will continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations and others to ensure the process is verifiable, and that it provides for consequences should Bashar Assad’s regime fail to comply with the agreed-upon framework.

If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act, Obama said. In a statement, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the U.S. military has not changed the force posture it adopted in preparation for military strikes against Syria.

“The credible threat of military force has been key to driving diplomatic progress,” Little said, “and it’s important that the Assad regime lives up to its obligations under the framework agreement.”

“The use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world is an affront to human dignity and a threat to the security of people everywhere,” Obama further continued in his statement. “We have a duty to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children.

“Today marks an important step towards achieving this goal.”

Press Release, September 16, 2013