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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Kerry to Assad: Hand over chemical arms to prevent strikes

Iran Press TV

Mon Sep 9, 2013 4:32PM

US Secretary of State John Kerry continues efforts to gain international support for Washington's controversial plan to launch strikes on Syria.

Kerry said on Monday that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants to avert an attack on his country, he should hand over his chemical weapons.

"He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week - turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow the full and total accounting," Kerry said at a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in London.

But he added that he did not believe the Syrian president would take such action, and admitted that his suggestion would not be even feasible. "But he isn't about to do it, and it can't be done," Kerry said, as reported by the New York Times.

Kerry said the United States has evidence that the Syrian government carried out the August 21 chemical attack against militants stationed near Damascus, though top Syrian authorities have categorically rejected allegation.

Kerry has had four days of discussions with European allies to gain their support. He told reporters in London that if an attack were carried out, it would be limited in scope and duration. He stressed that the possible US strike would not involve ground troops and would not drag the US and its allies into a prolonged war like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama plans to begin an intensive public and private lobbying push this week to win congressional support for the limited missile strike, according to the Washington Post. But even some of the congressional supporters of the Obama's strike plan are pessimistic that the White House will succeed.


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