Sept. 16 - France, Britain and the United States called for a swift U.N. resolution committing Syria to remove its chemical weapons, saying strong consequences would have to be imposed if President Bashar al-Assad failed to comply. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The United States, France and Britain on Monday (September 16) stepped up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to stick to a deal under which Syria must give up its chemical weapons, and warned he would suffer consequences if Damascus did not comply. Russia immediately cautioned against imposing tough penalties on the Syrian leader, while in Syria itself fighting was reported on several fronts, with a monitoring group saying a government helicopter had been brought down. The three Western permanent members of the United Nations Security Council said they would seek a strong resolution in the forum setting binding deadlines for the removal of Syria's chemical weapons, French President Francois Hollande's office said. The statement followed talks in Paris, two days after the United States reached a deal with Assad's ally Russia on chemical weapons that could avert U.S. strikes on Syria as punishment for a chemical attack in Damascus last month. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a news conference in Paris that the three powers agreed with Russia that Assad must suffer consequences if he fails to comply with U.N. demands. "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," Kerry said. . Russia has accused the Europeans of trying to reinterpret the agreement. The Syrian government has told the United Nations it will adhere to a treaty banning chemical weapons. The U.S.-Russian framework agreement calls for the United Nations to enforce the removal of existing stockpiles by the middle of next year. Assad has less than a week to begin complying with the deal by handing over a full account of his chemical arsenal. He must allow U.N.-backed inspectors from the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to complete their initial on-site checks by November.