Senior Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov says the United States is setting an unrealistic timeframe for Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control.
"The demand by the United States to hand over chemical weapons to international control in two or three weeks is simply unprofessional," Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said on Saturday. He added that Syria has at least “42 storage facilities, some of them in battle zones". The comments came as talks between the US and Russian foreign ministers aimed at reaching a deal on removing Syria's chemical arsenal are extended to a third day. The negotiations, which are set to resume on Saturday, come as both sides have already agreed that a political solution to the crisis in Syria is the only realistic way to end the violence in the country. The meeting was held at the invitation of UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov vowed to make an effort to restart the long-delayed Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria. “We both agreed... to meet again in New York around the time of the UN General Assembly around the 28th [of September] in order to see if it is possible then to find a date for that conference,” Kerry said. They also expressed hope that the negotiations over Syrian chemical weapons would open the door to wider efforts to stop the conflict in Syria. The Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria, proposed by Russia and the United States in May, has failed so far to take place as Syria’s foreign-backed opposition coalition remains divided over taking part in the planned event. On Thursday, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja’afari said Damascus has become a full member of the Chemical Weapons Convention. President Bashar al-Assad has also said that his country would submit the documents on joining the global treaty in a few days.