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France hails Syria deal as an important first step

Published: Updated:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday said that a deal between Russia and the United States to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad chemical weapon’s arsenal was an important first step, calling for a political solution for the Syrian crisis.

Fabius was speaking to reporters in the Chinese capital of Beijing, after meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, according to Reuters.

The U.S.-Russian agreement was reached in Geneva on Saturday after three days of talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Sergei Lavrov.

The deal intends to bring Syria's chemical weapons under international control by the middle of next year and leaves the door open to sanctions if Damascus fails to comply, but does not specify what they would be.

Assad has a week to hand over details of his regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons and Kerry said he must provide “immediate and unfettered” access to chemical weapons inspectors, according to AFP.

France supported the U.S. in urging military action in response to last month’s chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus allegedly carried out by Assad’s regime which killed more than 1,400 people, according to Syrian opposition figures.

(With AFP and Reuters)