UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday will brief the UN Security Council, and then the media, on the findings of the UN team that traveled to Syria to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria last month, according to a UN release. Ban received the investigative team’s report on Sept. 15, states the release. The scheduled release of the findings comes just two days after Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced in Geneva that they had reached a framework agreement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons. At a press briefing with Lavrov, Kerry said, under the terms, international weapons inspectors must be on the ground no later than November, with the goal of the complete destruction and/or removal of the chemical weapons by mid-2014. “This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world,” said President Obama in a statement. (Kerry-Lavrov transcript) (See also BBC report.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.