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Kerry: U.N. must back weapons deal

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 7:57 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that it is essential that the Russia-U.S. deal on eradicating Syria's chemical weapons arsenal be enforced and that the U.N. Security Council act on it next week when its members meet in New York.

“The Security Council must be prepared to act next week,” Kerry said. “It is vital for the international community to stand up and speak out in the strongest possible terms about the importance of enforceable action to rid the world of Syria's chemical weapons.”

Envoys from the five big U.N. powers have been meeting in New York to negotiate a draft resolution to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control.

Russia and the United States brokered the deal last week to avoid possible U.S. military strikes. Under the deal, Syria's President Bashar Assad would account for his chemical weapons within a week and have them destroyed by the middle of next year.

Kerry said there is little doubt the Aug. 21 gas attack on civilians was the work of Assad's forces.

Russia, which holds veto power in the Security Council, has said there is no proof that Assad's forces were responsible and denounced findings in a U.N. report that confirmed the nerve gas sarin was used.

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