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Kerry says Syria can avoid military strikes if al-Assad gives up chemical weapons

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Kerry says Syria can avoid military strikes if al-Assad gives up chemical weapons


The only way Syria can avoid military strikes is to handover its chemical weapons, says the US.

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the ultimatum during a visit to London as he looks to Europe to build support for intervention.

Kerry, asked what Bashar al-Assad’s regime could do to prevent military action, said: “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it) but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.”

Kerry met with his British counterpart William Hague, who backed the US, despite his government losing a parliamentary vote on intervening in Syria.

He said: “The United Kingdom will continue to work closely with the United States taking a highly-active role and addressing the Syria crisis and working with our closest ally over the coming weeks and months.”

Hague’s comments come as Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem met with his Russian opposite number, Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov said: “We and our Syrian partners, despite the seriousness of the situation, believe that a political solution is still possible. The minister said Syria was willing to go to the Geneva conference and to find, without condition, an agreement with the opposition.”

It comes as al Qaeda-linked militants took control of strategic Syrian town Maaloula.

Meanwhile NATO has said chemical attacks in Syria cannot go unanswered.

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