Kerry Rejects Assad’s Timetable for Dismantling Chemical Weapons

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Updated: 2:33 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is rejecting Syria’s proposed timeline to hand over its chemical weapons, saying the country’s own assurances that it would follow a 30-day lead time “are simply not enough,” the Associated Press reports.

Syrian President Bashar Assad told Russian TV earlier Thursday that the country would sign an international treaty banning chemical weapons according to a Russian-backed plan and begin transferring control of its own arsenal thirty days later. A spokesperson for the United Nations told CNN that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has received a letter from Syria declaring its intention to join the convention.

Kerry said at the press conference in Geneva with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the U.S. would still strike Syria if Assad doesn’t agree to dismantle his chemical arsenal properly.

Assad told Russia’s Rossiya-24 TV that the country agreed to hand over its chemical weapons as a result of a Russian initiative—and not in response to the threat of a U.S. strike.

“Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The U.S. threats did not influence the decision,” Assad said, according to the BBC.