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March 27, 2023

US praises Syria’s compliance with chemical weapons removal

A day after international inspectors began destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised the Syrian government for complying with the U.N. Security Council so quickly, the Voice of America reports.
Kerry said on Monday that it is “extremely significant” that the first weapons were destroyed a week after the Security Council passed a resolution. “I’m not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road, but it’s a good beginning. And we should welcome a good beginning,” said Kerry.
Kerry met on Monday in Indonesia with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said Russia – a Syrian ally – will do everything it can to ensure President Bashar al-Assad’s government cooperates.
Kerry told reporters both he and Lavrov agreed to meet with U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to urge a date be set for a Syrian peace conference in November. The diplomats have been trying for months to convene the conference, but the effort has been repeatedly delayed.
Brahimi urged Syria’s warring parties on Sunday to hold talks “without preconditions.” He said he hopes negotiations can take place in Geneva in late November. He also expressed frustration with the stalled peace process, acknowledging that he feels like resigning from his post.

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