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Kerry Shot Down In First Encounter With Russia

From a seemingly oblivious Associated Press:

Kerry talks tough in Syria encounter with Russia

By MATTHEW LEE and NANCY BENAC | September 12, 2013

GENEVA (AP) — Striking a tough tone, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry opened swiftly convened talks with Russia on Syria’s chemical weapons Thursday by bluntly rejecting a Syrian pledge to begin a "standard process" by turning over information rather than weapons — and nothing immediately.

Mr. Kerry is good at talking tough. (Unless US interests are at stake.)

That won’t do, Kerry declared at an opening news conference, a stone-faced Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at his side. "The words of the Syrian regime in our judgment are simply not enough."

"This is not a game," Kerry said… "We believe there is nothing standard about this process at this moment because of the way the regime has behaved," Kerry declared. And he kept alive the threat of U.S. military action, saying the turnover of weapons must be complete, verifiable and timely — "and finally, there ought to consequences if it doesn’t take place." …

Lavrov seemed to contradict Kerry’s negative view of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s offer to provide details on his country’s chemical arsenal beginning 30 days after it signs an international convention banning such weapons. Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations said that as of Thursday his country had become a full member of the treaty, which requires destruction of all chemical weapons. However, the United Nations said it will take at least another 30 days.

In other words, Syria is saying that they will begin to cooperate as soon as they are members of the treaty banning chemical weapons. And it’s the UN that is saying it will take them 30 days to become a full member of the treaty. And Russia is saying that it’s a matter of following the rules:

The Russian said the initiative must proceed "in strict compliance with the rules that are established by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons." That suggests Russia does not agree with the U.S. that this is an exceptional case and that Syria should face tougher standards than other countries…

And this is just the beginning of the Russia’s lack of cooperation.

The distrust in U.S.-Russia relations was on display even in an off-hand parting exchange at the news conference. Just before it ended, Kerry asked the Russian translator to repeat part of Lavrov’s concluding remarks.

When it was clear that Kerry wasn’t going to get an immediate re-translation, Lavrov apparently tried to assure him that he hadn’t said anything controversial.

Yep, the Russians really want to cooperate with us, don’t they? (By the way, why don’t we have our own translators at these things?)

"It was OK, John, don’t worry," he said. "You want me to take your word for it?" Kerry asked Lavrov. "It’s a little early for that." They were smiling at that point.

Funny stuff. (Not.)

The U.S. team with Kerry in Geneva includes officials who worked on inspection and removal of unconventional weapons from Libya after 2003 and in Iraq after the first Gulf War…

How reassuring. These are both examples of notorious screw-ups. Ten tons of chemical weapons were found in Libya after Gadhafi was deposed in 2011. And, needless to say, it was never clear that Saddam had destroyed all of his WMDs after he first Gulf War.

The meetings are taking place in the same hotel where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 gave Lavrov a symbolic "reset button" as a goodwill gesture and a reminder of the Obama administration’s efforts to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

Speaking of notorious screw-ups. (And the lack of Russian translators.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 13th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Kerry Shot Down In First Encounter With Russia”

  1. Astravogel says:

    Lurch, as is the case with
    most of this Administration,
    is pathetic.

  2. untrainable says:

    (Kerry) kept alive the threat of U.S. military action, saying the turnover of weapons must be complete, verifiable and timely — “and finally, there ought to consequences if it doesn’t take place.” …

    Syria hadn’t even admitted that they HAD chemical weapons until Kerry’s gaffe and Putin’s play. How can we know if their turnover is “complete”. How do you make it verifiable? Timely? Are you kidding me? Having John Kerry as the Sec of State has added several months to the process just to compensate for long windedness. But on top of that… he’s threatening consequences? Again? Oh God! He doesn’t have a red crayon in his hand does he?

    What are Obama and Kerry so anxious to destroy in Syria? I mean with all this notice, the Syrians (both Assad and the rebels) have to have moved or fortified all of their naughty bits, right? Yet the O said that it didn’t make any difference how long it took to get approval, that the effect of the strike (even a miniscule strike that won’t make any real difference in the long run anyway but is OK because… blah blah blah children) would be the same if not better. The articles that say the attack plan had been changed 50 times so far. It just makes me wonder what’s over there that O is so dead set on blowing up.

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