US reacts cautiously to Syria's claim that it ratified treaty banning chemical arms

The United States reacted cautiously to Syria's announcement that it had adopted an international treaty banning the use of chemical weapons.

Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the UnitedNations, said Syria's declared intention to join the ChemicalWeapons Convention was just a first step.

"This long overdue step does not address the pressing andimmediate need for a mechanism to identify, verify, secure andultimately destroy Assad's chemical weapons stockpile so theycan never again be used," Pelton said. "It also does not includeimmediate consequences for non-compliance."

"The international community must insist on immediateprogress toward destruction of Syria's CW (chemical weapons)program and also make clear that there will be consequences forany Syrian noncompliance," she said.

Pelton added that the United States would "continue ourongoing discussions with the Russians and key internationalpartners to urgently respond to the Assad regime's blatantdisregard for international norms."

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