The agreement

As laid out by Kerry, the six-point agreement reached after three days of intense talks consists of:

1) Shared assessment on the amount and type of chemical weapons possessed by Assad

2) Commitment to eliminate them in the soonest and safest manner - within one week Syria must present a comprehensive listing of its chemical weapons

3) Committment to use the extraordinary procedures allowed by the Chemical Weapons Convention for stringent verification and destruction

4) Syria must provide the Chemical Weapons Convention with the immediate right to inspect all sites in Syria

5) Agreement to destroy all chemical weapons, including if have they have to be taken out of the country for destruction

6) The use of the Chemical Weapons Convention's extraordinary procedures, plus UN logistical support for inspection and destrucion. In the event of non-compliance, measures under chapter VII of the UN Security Council will be implemented


The final point is a diplomatic pivot, as it means that in the case of non-compliance, it would be the United Nations who would have to verify who was responsible for the non-compliance and what measures - including military strikes - might be permissible in response.

Inspectors are to be in place by November, with the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile scheduled for the middle of 2014.

The question of how the ambitious timetable is to be implemented is also key, with commentators saying it is hard to see how chemical weapons can be identified and destroyed or removed from a country in the throes of a civil war.

Both Russia and the US are under the spotlight now, with Russia expected to use its influence with Syrian President Assad and the US expected to curb its ideas of military action and act according to UN resolutions.

The five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council are Russia, the US, France, Britain and China.

Russia and China have consistently blocked attempts by the other members to push military intervention.


Lavrov said at the press conference that the UN Security Council will act if Syria fails to meet demands on chemical weapons.

"We will expect compliance with requirements that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will formulate based on the relevant convention," Lavrov said at the press conference.

"If these requirements are not met, or if anyone uses chemical weapons, the Security Council will take measures in line with Chapter VII of the UN Charter," Lavrov said at the press conference.

"This doesn't mean that any violation reported to the Security Council will be taken for granted. It will be scrutinized," he added.

Good rapport

Though both Kerry and Lavrov ackowledged that there is a long road ahead, the two men appeared relaxed and satisfied throughout the press conference, with frequent expressions of gratitude and even several jokes.

At the end, Kerry turned to Lavrov with a murmured "Good job!" as they exchanged a warm handshake.

Describing how the negotiations had gone, Lavrov said: "Excellent."

When asked if Kerry was a good negotiator, he replied: "Kerry is my good friend."

Photo: Getty Images


In his speech, prior to Lavrov's, Kerry expressed his gratitude to Lavrov for his "tireless efforts" to work through some of the issues.

Diplomacy requries a willing partner, he stressed, thanking Russian President Vladimir Putin for reaching out "despite real disagreements", for his willingness to embrace ideas and for sending Lavrov to help the countries get to this point.

He also thanked the French and British foreign ministers, whom he will meet in Paris on Monday.

Provided the agreement is fully implemented, it can not only end the chemical threat to the Syrian people and the region, but provides greater security for world, he stressed.

"No games"

Kerry stressed the need for transparency, accountability, and timeliness. 

"The world will now expect the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments," said Kerry. "There can be no games.

"If we can join together and make this a success, we would not only save lives in Syria but reduce the threat to the region and re-introduce an international norm."

Russia's surprise announcement that Syria could hand over its chemical arsenal prompted US President Barack Obama to put on hold military strikes the United States and France had threatened to unleash in response to an August chemical attack near Damascus, which Washington blames on the Assad government and says killed about 1,400 people.