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Talks on Syria's toxic stockpiles at 'pivotal point'

Talks on Syria's toxic stockpiles at 'pivotal point'
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Talks between America and Russia over Syria’s chemical weapons are said to have reached a “pivotal point.”

According to a US official, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are close to reaching an agreement over the size of toxic stockpiles.

They are meeting in Geneva to discuss a plan pulled together by Moscow aimed at eliminating the weapons.

Washington thinks Syria has 1000 tons of chemical agents, while Russia’s estimate is reportedly much smaller.

“I repeated what I’ve said publicly,
which is any agreement needs to be 
verifiable and enforceable,” said US President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, as the talks continue in Switzerland, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said that an eagerly awaited inspection report is likely to confirm the use of poison gas in a deadly attack in Damascus last month.

He has also stepped up criticism of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“He has committed many crimes against humanity,” he told UN members.

“Therefore I’m sure there will be surely a process of accountability when everything is over.

“But at this time first and foremost, we have to help the fighting stop and (to help get) dialogue, (the) talking (to) begin.”

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