TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

U.S. accuses Syria of stalling on WMDs

AFP/Getty Images
A man guides two Syrian women as they leave a building damaged by an alleged air strike by Syrian government forces on Thursday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Washington Post
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 5:51 p.m.
 

The Obama administration said on Thursday that only 4 percent of Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons had been removed from the country and accused President Bashar Assad of dragging his feet on complying with the international agreement to eliminate the arsenal.

Those responsible for overseeing the destruction met in The Hague to review what diplomats called major delays and obstruction by the Syrian government as the eradication project ramped up this month.

“The effort to remove chemical agents and key precursor chemicals from Syria has seriously languished and stalled,” Robert P. Mikulak, the U.S. representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told the body.

Mikulak rejected Syria's explanation that the delay is because of security concerns in the areas through which chemical stores would be transported. Syria has demanded additional equipment to protect the shipments from rebel attack.

“These demands are without merit and display a ‘bargaining mentality' rather than a security mentality,” Mikulak said.

The White House said Assad must speed up chemical weapons shipments from inside the country to the port city of Latakia as agreed under a landmark deal to secure and destroy one of the world's largest stores of lethal chemical agents.

“It is the Assad regime's responsibility to transport those chemicals to facilitate removal. We expect them to meet their obligation to do so,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One.

The slow Syrian compliance in January occurred as the separate United Nations effort to convene peace talks between the Assad government and political opponents hit snags. The tandem efforts are the pillars of U.S. policy toward Syria nearly three years into a civil war that has killed well more than 100,000 people and displaced millions.

The Assad government and opposition figures sat down with a U.N. mediator this week but have made no real progress. Even a deal that was largely pre-arranged to get more food and other aid to besieged areas of Syria has not emerged from the brief talks. That agreement was supposed to build confidence between negotiators, who might then be able to begin to form a power-sharing government.

The talks in Geneva will run through Friday and are to reconvene in February.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Former Omar deputy to lead Afghan Taliban
  2. Surfer seriously injured in Australian shark attack
  3. Turkey aims guns at Kurdish rebels
  4. India hangs man who raised funds in support of 1993’s deadly Mumbai bombings
  5. Extremist strikes again in attack on gay parade in Jerusalem
  6. China says U.S. trying to militarize South China Sea
  7. Defense secretary touts success of Kurdish fighters in war on ISIS
  8. Debris on French island possibly that of missing Malaysia Airlines flight
  9. Israelis remember how summer conflict affected beach ritual
  10. Libyans on death sentences for Gadhafi’s son, others: ‘Who cares?’
  11. Scientists warn about killer robots