米露外相合意 シリアに時間稼ぎを許すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 17, 2013
U.S.-Russia agreement should not permit Syrian regime to buy time
米露外相合意 シリアに時間稼ぎを許すな(9月16日付・読売社説)

Military strikes against Syria have been averted, at least for now, apparently in a move aimed at achieving a political settlement to that country’s civil war. However, quite a few problems must be overcome.

The foreign ministerial talks between the United States and Russia that were held in Geneva for three days until Saturday produced an agreement designed to formulate a framework to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

Under the Washington-Moscow accord, Syria must hand over a complete list of its chemical weapons arsenal within a week, and the U.N.-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is scheduled to embark on inspections of Syria’s chemical weapons sites by November. Complete destruction of the arsenal is planned for the first half of 2014.

The accord, however, leaves one major question after another unanswered.
Is there any guarantee Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, which did not acknowledge until recently the existence of chemical weapons in the country, will unequivocally declare a list of its chemical weapons and live up to its promise to do away with them?
Will it be possible for OPCW inspectors to carry out effective inspections in the midst of a civil war?

In regard to North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program, we recall that Pyongyang, after committing to abandoning the program, maneuvered to have it delayed and eventually refused to accept inspections.

The Assad government must never be allowed to buy time to prolong the life of the regime by deliberately delaying the implementation of the inspection accord.

UNSC resolution essential

The latest agreement came after Russia, the patron of the Assad administration, embarked on diplomatic arbitration in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of plans to launch punitive military action against Syria following the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

After striking the deal with Moscow, Washington agreed to delay military operations against Damascus. The question over whether the Assad regime used chemical weapons has been shelved.

The agreement stipulates that if the Assad administration fails to comply with the terms of the accord, including a ban on the use of chemical weapons and their transportation without prior permission, the U.N. Security Council would take measures based on Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which will pave the way for military sanctions.

This means that strong pressure, including the threat of military strikes, is essential to ensure the Assad regime abides by the agreement to eliminate chemical weapons.

In a statement released after the agreement, Obama said, “If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act,” implying that the United States retains the option of carrying out military strikes.

The U.N. Security Council, for its part, is set to draw up a resolution in response to the U.S.-Russia accord. The resolution must be adopted promptly, as it is indispensable for the international community as a whole to continue to exert pressure on the Assad regime to honor the accord.

The civil war has already claimed the lives of 100,000 people, and refugees total 2 million. It is imperative to end the war as soon as possible.

The U.S. and Russian foreign ministers are scheduled to meet again in New York soon to discuss the feasibility of holding an international conference with both Assad regime officials and rebels taking part.

The rebels are far from united, as they comprise a multitude of forces, such as Islamist groups and secular organizations. Diplomatic negotiations to resolve these differences face many difficulties.

Japan, for that matter, should not stand idly by. It should expand its humanitarian aid, including refugee relief, to the Syrian people.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 16, 2013)
(2013年9月16日01時41分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2013-09-18 06:38 | 英字新聞

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