U.S. expects Syrian stockpile destroyed ahead of schedule

The United States expects Syria’s chemical weapons to be destroyed “even faster than the very ambitious goal” of June 30 set in the U.S.-Russian agreement reached in Geneva in September, top U.S. negotiator Thomas Countryman says on this week’s episode of “Conversations with Nicholas Kralev.”

Countryman, who is the assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, also says that U.S. and Russian officials met repeatedly over two years before the Geneva negotiations to work out the basic details of how the Syrian chemical program would be dismantled if the opportunity presented itself.

A Foreign Service officer since 1982, Countryman explains how Washington reconciles its attempts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction with its conventional arms sales worth tens of billions of dollars a year.

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