Turkey has responded cautiously to Saturday’s US-Russian deal to avoid a US military operation if Syria allows its chemical weapons stockpile to be destroyed, saying that it does not eliminate the need for action to stop the regime killing with conventional weapons, and also calls for well-defined consequences if President Bashar al-Assad’s administration fails to fulfill its agreements.
After three days of talks in Geneva, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, announced on Saturday that they had reached an agreement under which Assad will account for Syria’s secret chemical weapons stockpile and permit international inspectors to destroy it by mid-2014.
In a telephone conversation with Kerry later that day, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons does not eliminate the need for an urgent solution to the crisis in Syria. He said the humanitarian tragedy would worsen in the conflict-devastated country if no effective measures were taken to prevent massacres with conventional weapons.
“The ultimate goal in Syria must be to end the crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated in this country by the regime for nearly three years, to meet the legitimate demands of the population and to enable the people of Syria to establish a legitimate administration,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.