WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama said Monday that a U.S. deal reached with Russia during the weekend had the potential to end the threat of Syria’s chemical arsenal.
In his first on-camera response to the breakthrough, Obama cautioned that the deal to identify and destroy the weapons must be properly implemented and that “we are not there yet.”
“Over the weekend, we took an important step … towards moving Syria’s chemical weapons under international control so that they can be destroyed,” Obama said at the White House. “If properly implemented, this agreement could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the world.”
The U.S.-Russia deal agreed in Geneva gives Syria a week to hand over details of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
It calls for inspections of what the United States says are 45 sites linked to the program which are to be underway by November with the aim of neutralizing the country’s chemical capacity by mid-2014.