US and Russia come to agreement on Syrian chemical weapons

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said announced an ambitious plan to transfer Syria’s massive chemical weapons stockpile to international control by the middle of next year, at which point they would be destroyed.

A potential U.N. Security Council resolution could authorize sanctions — even military action — if President Bashar Assad’s government fails to comply.

Kerry said any violations will result in “measures” from the Security Council, while Lavrov said the violations must be sent to the Security Council from the board of the chemical weapons convention before sanctions — short of the use of force — would be considered.

“Any violations of procedures … would be looked at by the Security Council and if they are approved, the Security Council would take the required measures, concrete measures,” Lavrov said. “Nothing is said about the use of force or about any automatic sanctions. All violations should be approved by the Security Council.”

Several questions remain, including how realistic is it to assume chemical weapons can be rounded  up in the middle of a civil war.