Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) met with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak today in Sherman's office to discuss the Russian proposal for the disposal of Syrian chemical weapons. Sherman is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade. Sherman's statement on the proposal and his meeting with Ambassador Kislyak follows:
"I commend the Russian proposal and the efforts of the Russian government to avoid a wider conflict in Syria, as well as prevent the further use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists. Ambassador Kislyak and I held an informative meeting today, and I believe that the Russian proposal deserves very serious attention to develop the details needed to carry it out.
"Russia and the rest of the international community need to develop a much longer, detailed proposal to be presented to Assad. Ambassador Kislyak assured me that his government is working on such a detailed proposal. Assad has agreed to give up his chemical weapons in principle, but this undertaking -- collecting, securing and ultimately destroying a large stockpile of chemical weapons in a war zone -- needs to be spelled out in painstaking detail. Only when Assad accepts a detailed proposal will we know that he is serious.
"That said, Assad giving up his chemical weapons through an inspection and verification process would go further toward ensuring the security of the United States, and would do more to prevent the future use of chemical weapons than we could hope to achieve through airstrikes.