September 12, 2013
By Hayes Brown
Russia has provided to the United States its formal proposal for removing chemical weapons from Syria and while details are sparse, part of the plan could involve a two-decade old agreement between Moscow and Washington to destroy weapons of mass destruction.
Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Geneva on Thursday to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in a series of high-level meetings related to the once long-shot deal that has become the focus of diplomatic attention in recent days. Under the proposal, the Syrian government would place its stockpile of chemical weapons under international control, thereby, in theory, removing the threat of their future use. Originally floated by Kerry at a press conference, the idea has become the basis for a potential United Nations resolution and resulted in the Syrian government announcing that it would sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and disclose all of its weapons stockpile.
Less certain is exactly how to get those weapons out of Syria given that there is still an ongoing civil war on the ground. According to the Telegraph, the full Russian proposal presented formally to the United States on Wednesday has been leaked to the Russian media, offering a glimpse at just how the process could move forward:
Exactly who would carry out the decommissioning of the country’s stocks of Sarin, VX and mustard gas is not yet clear, but the diplomat raised the possibility of a joint US-Russian effort as part of the Nunn-Lugar programme, a post-cold war arrangement for securing and decommissioning Soviet-era WMD stockpiles.
Read the full story here.