As of Thursday, Syrian officials said their country had become a full member of the Chemical Weapons Convention, however U.N. officials reacted with caution. One official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “I think there are a few more steps they have to take [before Syria is signatory of the convention].” As of now, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is suggesting a 30-day delay before submitting chemicals weapons data, but the U.S. and other nations say that the turnover of these weapons must be timely, verifiable, and complete.
After meeting with his Russian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry said diplomatic efforts to prevent a military strike were “constructive,” but warned “this is not a game,” and “there ought to be consequences if [the handover of chemical weapons] doesn't take place.” Secretary Kerry kept the threat of military action alive, and said, “the words of the Syrian regime, in our judgment, are simply not enough.” At this time, it's unclear whether President Assad will agree to a shorter time frame, or whether Russia and other nations will continue to cooperate while the threat of military action remains on the table. A spokesman for the U.N. said they received an “accession document” from Syria, which expressed their commitment to the international chemical weapons ban, and currently, it is being studied.
In the meantime, Secretary Kerry set up further diplomatic discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and the United Nations envoy to Syria. Those discussion will take place in New York later this month, and they will move on to setting up a peace conference, if Syria has began following through with their commitments. No one said that these diplomatic efforts would be easy, but many are hopeful that efforts will be successful, and keep our nation from starting another war.