Kerry arrives in Geneva to test Russia's commitment in Syria chemical weapons deal

(CBS News) GENEVA - Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Thursday in Geneva to test whether Moscow is putting forward a credible and verifiable plan to inventory and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reports that Kerry brought a team of about 30 arms control experts and diplomats to meet tonight with a similarly-large Russian delegation. They expect at least two days of very technical, intense talks.

There is not a lot of trust between the U.S. and Russia going into the negotiations, says Brennan, who is traveling with Kerry.

A senior Obama administration official reacting Thursday to an op-ed by Vladimir Putin, in which the Russian leader claims millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model for democracy, but as relying solely on brute force to intervene in foreign conflicts, said the onus was now on Russia to prove it's credentials at peacemaking.

"President Putin has invested his credibility in transferring Assad's chemical weapons to international control, and ultimately destroying them," said the official. "The world will note whether Russia can follow through on that commitment."

Kerry wants to see whether his counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, is prepared to offer up all of the roughly 1,000 tons of chemical weapons materials, and the myriad production facilities and munitions that U.S, intelligence believes the Syrians have, but had refused until this week to even acknowledge.

Brennan notes that, according to members of the U.S. delegation in Geneva, locating and disposing of all Syria's chemical weaponry in the middle of a warzone would be, "doable, but difficult and complicated."

While the diplomacy happens, the fighting continues on the ground. Russia wants the U.S. to agree not to take military action and to abandon plans to help arm the Syrian rebels.

Those rebels, meanwhile, are furious that the Geneva talks are even happening -- they see it as a delaying tactic and point out that even if the Assad regime gives up its chemical weapons, his army will keep all of its other weapons, and likely continue using them to devastating effect.