Kerry, Lavrov begin Syrian disarmament negotiations - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Kerry begins Syrian disarmament negotiations with Russians

John Kerry and Sergy hold a joint press conference on Syrian disarmament.  (Source: CNN) John Kerry and Sergy hold a joint press conference on Syrian disarmament. (Source: CNN)
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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (RNN) - In a joint statement Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergy Lavrov reiterated their belief that the two countries could come to a mutual agreement that would allow Syria to give up its chemical weapons and avoid a U.S. military strike.

The meeting signifies a "step forward" in the two countries' attempt to achieve a diplomatic solution to the Syrian chemical weapons crisis.

"This is not a game," Kerry said.

The U.S. and Russia have had their differences, Kerry notes, but they agree that no country should use chemical weapons, and their joint effort to rid Syria of its weapons would mark a historic moment for the multilateral non-proliferation efforts.

Kerry said that the U.S. is grateful for Russia's suggestions and there are high expectations for Russia to deliver on its promises. Ultimately, it will take compliance from the Assad regime for a plan to be successful.

"Despite how difficult this is…we believe there is a way to get this done," Kerry said. "Achieving a peaceful resolution is preferable to military action."

The goal that Kerry and Lavrov hope to achieve in Geneva is to test the viability of the plan to remove and destroy Assad's chemical weapons.

The U.S. is serious about "engaging in a meaningful negotiation as our military keeps up pressure on the Assad regime," Kerry said. "Should diplomacy fail, force may be necessary."

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