GENEVA - The United States will insist that Syria take rapid steps to show it is serious about abandoning its vast chemical arsenal, a senior US officials said, as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva on Thursday for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Among the first steps Washington wants, one US official said, is for the government of Bashar Assad to quickly make a complete, public declaration of its chemical weapons stockpiles as a prelude to inspecting and neutralizing them.
The aim, the official said, "is to see if there's reality here, or not" in a Russian proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons. The United States and its allies say the Damascus government used those weapons in deadly attacks outside the Syrian capital on Aug. 21.
Kerry plans to hold at least two days of talks with Lavrov on the plan, floated by Moscow this week and rapidly accepted by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.
The hope, the officials said, is that Kerry and Lavrov can agree on a blueprint for Syrian disarmament whose main points would be adopted in a UN Security Council resolution.