Kerry, in Israel, says Syria weapons deal sets standard for Iran


JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Israel that the U.S.-Russia deal on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons also will have an impact on Iran and the threat of force remains.

Following a meeting Sunday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kerry told reporters that the agreement “will only be as efficient as its implementation will be” and that “President Obama has made it clear that to accomplish that, the threat of force remains.”

Kerry said the agreement reached the previous day between him and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “has the full ability to strip all of the chemical weapons from Syria.”

He also said that destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal sets a standard on Iran, and that the world must not allow “hollow words” to dominate international affairs.

Under the agreement, Syria would provide a full account of its chemical weapons stockpile within a week, and the arsenal would be destroyed  “in the soonest and safest manner,” according to the State Department. The agreement followed three days of talks in Geneva.

Netanyahu following his meeting with Kerry said the world must ensure that radical regimes don’t have weapons of mass destruction “because as we’ve learned once again in Syria, if rogue regimes have weapons of mass destruction, they will use them.”

“The determination the international community shows regarding Syria will have a direct impact on the Syrian regime’s patron, Iran. Iran must understand the consequences of its continual defiance of the international community by its pursuit towards nuclear weapons.”

Kerry and Netanyahu also discussed the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

At a ceremony Sunday morning at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Netanyahu cautioned that “Israel must be prepared and ready to defend itself by itself against any threat. Today, this ability and this willingness are more important than ever.”

On Saturday, Syria formally to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the United Nations announced. The document signed by Syria, however, stipulates that “the accession of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Convention shall not in any sense imply recognition of Israel, and shall not entail entering into any relations with Israel in the matters governed by the provisions thereof.”


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