So should Vladimir Putin get the Nobel Peace Prize? Does this get President Obama out of the mess he was in, turning a fiasco into a victory?
The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on a plan to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control, a rare diplomatic victory in a brutal civil war that appears to head off a punitive U.S. military strike on Syria in the near future.
In announcing the deal, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, said the agreement would be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply.
Kerry said the first international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile is set for November, with destruction to begin next year. But Lavrov added a more cautious note to what was an otherwise jubilant moment in Geneva, where the talks took place.
Lavrov stressed that the documents released Saturday, outlining the transfer of Syria’s large chemical weapons arsenal and its destruction, constitute only an “agreed proposal” that does not yet have the force of law. The plan drew sharp anger from Syria’s U.S.-backed rebels and received decidedly mixed reviews from the U.S. Congress, across party lines.
“Providing this effort is fully implemented, it can end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people, but also to their neighbors, to the region,” Kerry said.