Nightly News   |  September 14, 2013

It’s a deal for U.S. and Russia

The U.S. and Russia struck a deal which would eliminate Syria’s chemical weapon cache by 2014. Yet, both sides admit this is just the beginning. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> now uh to the crisis in syria which in a week has gone fl from a threat of an imminent american attack to an unprecedented agreement to remove syria 's chemical weapons . at least that's the plan. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell has been covering the talks since thursday in geneva . tonight she's back in washington. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, lester. it is a breakthrough agreement that the u.s. hopes will set the stage for future political negotiations to end the civil war . first, even top u.s. officials tonight are wondering whether president assad will h comply with today's requirement that he disclose all chemical weapons and their secret locations in just a week. after three days of round-the-clock meetings -- openly emotion al sighs of relief. but in announcing the details of the agreement secretary of state john kerry and sergey lavrov say the work has just begun.

>> the framework which requires vigilance and the investment of the international community and full accountability of the assad regime present s a hard road ahead.

>> translator: we understand the decisions we have reached today is only the beginning of the road.

>> reporter: hours before around the geneva hotel swimming pool, kerry, lavrov and top aides hammered out final details over coffee and handshake, reaching a four-page agreement and a calendar of goal goals. in a week syria must tell where they are. in november, inspectors must have unlimited access to the chemical arsenal and an initial report must be issued by the end of the month. by mid 2014 , all chemical weapons and material must be destroyed or removed from syria . it won't be easy, as nbc's ian williams reports from geneva .

>> this is an incredibly ambitious agreement. one senior u.s. oh official described it as daunting to say the least. the first key test comes in just a week when syria is required to come up with a full accounting of its chemical stockpile.

>> reporter: president obama , briefed by national security adviser susan rice issued a statement welcoming the agreement and saying again the threat of u.s. military force opened the way to a diplomatic solution h. in his weekly media address the president pledged to follow both courses.

>> we will maintain our military posture to keep pressure on the regime.

>> reporter: but they cited russia's opposition reiterated by lavrov again today.

>> translator: of course in this approach if we don't there is nothing said about the use of force .

>> reporter: today john mccain and lindsey graham said the plan is meaningless without a u.s. threat of force and does nothing to resolve the underlying civil war . privately the russians told the u.s. they are speaking for assad . that remains to be scene. secretary kerry already recalled turkey's prime minister today after they slammed the agreement for letting assad off the hook. u.s. officials say they expect delays if this works eliminating syria 's huge stockpile of chemical weapons would be a huge benefit to the world.