Kerry: Russia agrees there must be "consequences" for Syria backing up chemical weapons deal

PARIS Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday briefed some of the United States' closest allies on a broad agreement to end Syria's chemical weapons program, pressing for broad support for the plan that averted U.S. military strikes.

A day after visiting Israeli leaders, Kerry met in Paris with his counterparts from France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who had pressed for strikes against the government of Bashar Assad after an Aug. 21 poison gas attack that killed hundreds in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Foreign ministers Laurent Fabius of France and William Hague of Britain, Kerry said the allies -- and Russia -- were in agreement that the U.N. resolution eventually adopted by the Security Council and based on the deal struck by Kerry and his Russian counterpart over the weekend must include "consequences" for the Syrians if they fail to adhere to the plan to dispose of chemical weapons.

U.S. and Russian officials reached the ambitious agreement on Saturday calling for an inventory of Syria's chemical weapons program within a week, with the program eradicated by mid-2014.

Those who blame Assad for the chemical attack and supported military strikes say the pressure is on Assad to uphold his end of any deal.

"If Assad fails in time to abide by the terms of this framework, make no mistake, we are all agreed -- and that includes Russia -- that there will be consequences," said Kerry, offering no elaboration.

Kerry said that Russia had agreed to a U.N. resolution which may reference the global body's key "Chapter 7" clause, which allows for the use of force in the case of a violation, but does not mandate it.

"Russia did agree in Geneva that Chapter 7 is mentioned specifically as the route for compliance if there is non-compliance or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria," said Kerry on Monday. "Under both of those circumstances; either use of weapons or non-compliance, you are already in Chapter 7 according to the agreement that we came out of Geneva with. That mention is there."

The real detail of the resolution is still being crafted by diplomats at U.N. Headquarters in New York.

But as CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk reports from the U.N., the framework agreed to by Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva actually only provides for the option of a second resolution which could carry the authority of Chapter 7 use of force if the Syrians fail to meet their obligations as laid out in the first resolution, which is being debated this week.

However, Falk adds that new evidence expected to emerge Monday about the Ghouta attack, in the form of an official report from U.N. inspectors who visited the site, could change the Russians' thinking on the use of force clause which they have resisted thus far. Lavrov himself said weeks ago that if there is conclusive evidence showing the Syrian regime was responsible for the Aug. 21 attack, Russia would consider use of force.

"The negotiation is a moving target, and will change as information surfaces regarding Assad's culpability for the attack in Ghouta," said Falk.

Kerry stressed the importance of both verifying that the Syrians were adhering to the plan once it was ratified by the Security Council, and making the resolution enforceable.

"If the Assad regime believes it's not enforceable, then they will play games," warned Kerry, signaling that he -- along with the French and British -- would be pressing Russia to agree to harsh punishment for any non-compliance by the Syrians.

Asked whether he trusted the Russians -- who have shielded Assad's government from harsh penalties at the U.N. for two years -- Kerry was adamant: "We're talking about verify, and verify. It's not a matter of trust."

Speaking Sunday, President Obama said "if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act."

Obama's comments were echoed in France, the only other country to commit military resources against Syria.

"The military option must remain; otherwise there will be no pressure," French President Francois Hollande said in an address Sunday.

A United Nations resolution should detail how Syria can secure and destroy its stockpile.

An official close to Hollande said there was firm agreement among France, Britain and the United States that the resolution must be "strong, robust, precise" and must include a calendar of benchmarks for Assad. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

Kerry, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Hollande also agreed to continue to work toward a political solution with the Syrian opposition, the officials said.

Kerry stressed Monday that a political solution to the overall crisis which includes a transitional government in Syria was still the "end strategic goal" of the U.S. government.

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