US President Barack Obama has welcomed an agreement between the US and Russia under which Syria’s chemical weapons must be destroyed or removed by mid-2014 as an “important step”. But a White House statement cautioned that the US expected Syria “to live up to its public commitments”. The US-Russian framework document stipulates that Syria must provide details of its stockpile within a week. If Syria fails to comply, the deal could be enforced by a UN resolution. China, France, the UK, the UN and Nato have all expressed satisfaction at the agreement.
In Beijing, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday that China “welcomes the general agreement between the US and Russia.” “This agreement will enable tensions in Syria to be eased,” he said. However, there has so far been no reaction from Damascus.
In the White House statement, President Obama said that the US-Russian deal “represents an important, concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria’s chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed.” However the president warned that while the US would continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations and others to ensure that destruction-or-removal process was verifiable, there would be “consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework.”