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Impact of Syria chemical weapons deal debated

Impact of Syria chemical weapons deal debated
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The US and Russia have sealed a deal which could avert military action against Syria, but whether it will resolve the chemical weapons crisis is a matter of debate.

Under the agreement, struck in Geneva, President Bashar al-Assad must reveal details of the country’s stockpiles within a week.

The weapons must then be removed or destroyed by mid 2014.

US President Barack Obama has warned that military action is still an option.

“We are not just going to take Russia and Assad’s word for it. We need to see concrete actions to demonstrate that Assad is serious about giving up his chemical weapons,” he said in a televised address.

“And since this plan emerged only with a credible threat of US military action, we will maintain our military posture in the region to keep the pressure on the Assad regime. And if diplomacy fails, the United States and the international community must remain prepared to act.”

US Republican Senator John McCain has blasted the deal saying that it allows Assad to “delay and deceive” for months.

France, meanwhile, has described the agreement as an “important step forward.”

The country’s foreign minister said talks in Paris on Monday would focus on how its implemented.

Syrian opposition members are less positive. They say the deal is a blow to their hopes of overthrowing Assad.

They also claim chemical weapons have already been shifted out of Syria – to allies in Lebanon and Iraq.

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