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LATEST:Syria agrees to give up chemical weapons
Updated: Thursday, September 12 2013, 03:26 PM CDT
SYRIA -- Secretary of State John Kerry is in Switzerland this morning.
He is there for two days of negotiations with his Russian counterpart.
Kerry is expected to push them for more specifics on Moscow's proposal to inventory, quarantine and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.
Secretary Kerry arrived here in Geneva to see if a deal is possible
He's meeting with the Russians to try and hammer out exactly how they would secure President Assad's chemical weapons
Syria has pledged to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and hand over its arsenal to international monitors for destruction.
It's a stunning turnaround for Assad, who in an interview with CBS on Sunday wouldn't even acknowledge he had these weapons
Assad Rose Intvw : "We don't say yes, we don't say no"
Then agreed to give them up on Monday.
<Assad Interview Today > Today, Assad told Russian state television he agreed because of Russia's offer, not because of the threat of US strikes
Obama Tuesday: "this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force"
For now President Obama has put that threat on hold saying he wants to give the diplomacy a chance.
In an op-ed in the New York Times today, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of the consequences of military intervention
"Is it in America's long-term interest? I doubt it," he wrote.
Any disarmament plan won't be easy either Experts say it will take time.
EXPERT: It will take weeks to get the inspectors in, months to secure and inventory the arsenal, and probably three to four years to actually
destroy all the weapons.
The challenge: verifying that Assad turned over his entire stockpile and doing it safely in the middle of a war.
For now, the Obama administration is cautiously optimistic they'll be able to agree to a plan with the Russians this week. As one senior US official
told reporters on the plane ride over here, "It's doable, but difficult and complicated"