On 14 September 2013 US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergev Lavrov signed the "Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons." After two years of stalemate in the UN Security Council - primarily between the United States and Russia - and recent threats by the US President to punish Syria for the use of chemical weapons in the civil war, the agreement is likely to be of major importance. The idea of using the Chemical Weapons Convention was first mentioned by Secretary Kerry last week in London. While his own department made clear that the idea was hypothetical, Foreign Minister Lavrov immediately reacted by calling upon the Syrian authorities to adhere to the Convention as a way to eliminate and destroy their chemical arsenal. It brought the US and Russia on speaking terms over Syria and (at least) postponed a military intervention - an American go it alone threat that would no doubt have worsened the plight of the Syrians and escalated the Syrian conflict. It should be kept in mind that Syria is the last close ally left to Russia in the Middle East. Syria`s impressive chemical arsenal was built up with Russian support, if not by direct delivery. There would have been ample reason to challenge Russia itself for violating the Chemical Weapons Convention. The quick reaction to Kerry`s idea was also in Russia`s own interest.

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