US Secretary of State John Kerry says the United Nations Security Council must be prepared to act on Syria’s chemical weapons program next week.
“Now the test comes. The Security Council must be prepared to act next week. It is vital for the international community to stand up and speak out,” Kerry said in a statement at the State Department on Thursday.
“This fight about Syria’s chemical weapons is not a game,” Kerry added. “It’s real. It’s important.”
The top US diplomat, who will join world leaders for the annual UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday, once again accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in a deadly attack last month.
“I would say to the community of nations, time is short. Let’s not spend time debating what we already know,” Kerry said.
“Instead, we have to recognize that the world is watching to see whether we can avert military action and achieve through peaceful means” the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, he added.
“The complete removal of Syria’s chemical weapons is possible here, through peaceful means,” Kerry said.
Meanwhile, Damascus plans to make a full declaration of its chemical arms stocks by this weekend under a deal with Russia to put the weapons under international control with the goal of destroying them by mid-2014.
During a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday, Kerry called on China, which is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, to play a positive role regarding Syria.
“With negotiations ongoing at the Security Council, we look forward to China playing a positive, constructive, important role,” Kerry told his Chinese counterpart.
The agreement between the US and Russia to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control has for now cooled off the war rhetoric in the region.