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Sep 14, 2013, 04.40 PM IST | Source: PTI

Syria's use of chemical weapons a criminal act: Obama

Obama made his remarks yesterday after his bilateral meeting with Kuwaiti ruler Amir Al-Sabah, during which Syria was on top of their agenda.

US President Barack Obama has said that the use of chemical arms by Syria is a "criminal act" and as such it becomes important for the international community to respond so as to deter repeated use of such weapons and to move them out of the war-torn country.

Obama made his remarks yesterday after his bilateral meeting with Kuwaiti ruler Amir Al-Sabah, during which Syria was on top of their agenda. "Our two countries are in agreement that the use of chemical weapons that we saw in Syria was a criminal act, and that it is absolutely important for the international community to respond in not only deterring repeated use of chemical weapons, but hopefully getting those chemical weapons outside of Syria," he said.

Obama hoped that the negotiations currently taking place between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva bear fruit. "But I repeated what I've said publicly, which is that any agreement needs to be verifiable and enforceable. We agreed that, ultimately, what's needed for the underlying conflict is a political settlement that allows ordinary Syrians to get back to their homes, to rebuild, and to relieve the enormous suffering that's taking place," he said.

Meanwhile, a senior administration official said no one is contemplating a process where they would trust the Syrians to destroy the weapons. "That's why they'd have to transfer custody to the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) or an international mechanism. They also may leave the country too as part of that process.

"I think one of the technical issues is, do you remove the weapons from Syria first and then destroy them or do you destroy them there? So in other words, we won't be trusting Assad to implement this agreement. "There would have to be a process where essentially he's seceding control of the weapons," the official told journalists.

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