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Kerry to meet with Russian counterpart on Syria

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-12 05:38

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday and Friday, to discuss Syria's chemical weapons, the State Department said Wednesday.

Kerry and Lavrov will discuss matters concerning Syria, including "the use of chemical weapons and steps to address these developments," the State Department said in a press release.

The meeting was announced by President Barack Obama during a prime time address to the nation Tuesday evening, when he welcomed a Russian proposal to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control.

In her daily press briefing, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said a team of experts on weapons will accompany Kerry to Geneva to the meeting.

"We will also be bringing a team of experts to meet with their team of experts," she told reporters, adding the US and Russian side would "figure out how to make the (chemical weapons) destruction effort logistically and technically possible."

Psaki said the Russian proposal is far from complete, as Moscow had "put forward ideas" rather than a "lengthy package," and there are "components that need to be worked out."

"Our goal here is to test the seriousness of this proposal, to talk about the specifics of how this would get done, what are the mechanics of identifying, verifying, securing and ultimately destroying the chemical weapons," said Psaki.

The amount of work could be daunting, as Syria is estimated to possess large stockpiles of chemical weapons. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the process "obviously will take some time."

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