Russia & US agree on elimination of Syria weapons

Tuesday 08 October 2013 23.35
Vladimir Putin and John Kerry met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation trade summit in Bali
Vladimir Putin and John Kerry met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation trade summit in Bali

Russia and the United States have agreed on how to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

Mr Putin was speaking after meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation trade summit on the Indonesian island of Bali

"We have a common understanding of what needs to be done and how. I am very glad that President (Barack) Obama is occupying this position (on chemical arms)," Mr Putin told reporters.

International experts charged with starting the process of verifying and eliminating chemical weapons arrived in Syria earlier this month.

Russia, Syria's long-time ally and arms supplier, has offered to assist with the demolition process.

Mr Putin said he believed experts would be able to accomplish their goal of ridding Syria of its chemical arms within a year.

A team of international experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague and personnel from the UN began destroying Syria's chemical gas arsenal yesterday.

It follows an agreement hammered out between the US and Russia after a deadly 21 August chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, which prompted US threats of air strikes against the Syrian government.

The elimination of the chemical weapons is expected to continue until at least mid-2014.

More than 100,000 people have died in Syria's conflict, which began in early 2011 with peaceful demonstrations seeking more democracy but deteriorated into a sectarian civil war.