U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 14, 2013, that a framework for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons had been agreed on. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to give up all chemical weapons in an effort prevent a U.S. attack on Syria for what Mr. Kerry on August 30, 2013, called "the chemical weapons attack the Assad regime inflicted on the opposition and on opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods in the Damascus suburbs on the early morning of August 21st." See "
According to Mr. Kerry, "The United States Government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children." The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons against forces trying to overthrow Mr.al-Assad.
For more background on the Obama Administration's position on Syria, see President Barack Obama's September 10, 2013, address to the Nation on Syria.
FRAMEWORK FOR ELIMINATION OF SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS
Taking into account the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to accede to the Chemical
Weapons Convention and the commitment of the Syrian authorities to provisionally apply the Convention prior to its entry into force, the United States and the Russian Federation express their joint determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program (CW) in the soonest and safest manner.
For this purpose, the United States and the Russian Federation have committed to prepare and submit in the next few days to the Executive Council of the OPCW a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof. The principles on which this decision should be based, in the view of both sides, are set forth in Annex A. The United States and the Russian Federation believe that these extraordinary procedures are necessitated by the prior use of these weapons in Syria and the volatility of the Syrian civil war.
The United States and the Russian Federation commit to work together towards prompt adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that reinforces the decision of the OPCW Executive Council. This resolution will also contain steps to ensure its verification and effective implementation and will request that the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with the OPCW, submit recommendations to the UN Security Council on an expedited basis regarding the UN's role in eliminating the Syrian chemical weapons program.
The United States and the Russian Federation concur that this UN Security Council resolution should provide for review on a regular basis the implementation in Syria of the decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW, and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
The proposed joint US-Russian OPCW draft decision supports the application of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for the referral of any cases of noncompliance to the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council.
In furtherance of the objective to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program, the United States and the Russian Federation have reached a shared assessment of the amount and type of chemical weapons involved, and are committed to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in Syria. The United States and the Russian Federation expect Syria to submit, within a week, a comprehensive listing, including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities.