U.S., Russia Reach Deal For Elimination of Syria's Chemical Weapons Stockpile

Secretary of State John Kerry announced early Saturday morning that the United States and Russia have reached a tentative agreement that will see the removal or destruction of Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons by mid-2014.

According to Kerry, Syria has one week to submit a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons stockpile, and allow international inspectors to access them by November. There is “no room for avoidance or anything less than full compliance,” Kerry said.

The deal leaves authority with the United Nations Security Council, which will draft the official resolution. The UNSC could include the option for a threat of force in the resolution, if Syria fails to comply, which would fall under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Still, both sides are committed to finding a “diplomatic solution,” according to Kerry, which this deal represents.

The agreement drew vocal support from the international community, including France, which called it an “important step forward,” and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who called it a promising “solution to stop the appalling suffering inflicted on the Syrian people.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Larnov described the deal as one of “consensus and compromise and professionalism.” Kerry and Larnov reached the deal after three days of talks in Geneva, Switzerland.