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Kerry presses Russia on pace of Syria chemical disarmament

US Secretary of State John Kerry has called for an increase in pace when it comes to getting rid of chemical weapons held by the Syrian government. He pressed Russia to excercise more influence on Syria.

Ahead of the US Secretary of State's scheduled appearance Saturday at the

Munich Security Conference

, Kerry made it clear that Washington views the progress of Syria's chemical weapons disarmament to be inadequate.

According to a State Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity on Friday, Kerry spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, about the matter in Munich.

"Secretary Kerry pressed Foreign Minister Lavrov to push the [Syrian] regime for more progress on moving the remaining chemical weapons within Syria to the port in Latakia," the official was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

Facing the threat of missile strikes from the US due to a chemical weapons attack in August, the Syrian government agreed to reduce its stockpile of chemical weapons under an

international agreement

that was brokered to a large extent by Russia.

"We now know that the Assad regime is not moving as rapidly as it promised to move the chemical weapons out of Syria," Kerry said earlier in Berlin, where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

.

On Thursday, the US State Department said that so far, only 4 percent of Syria's most toxic chemical weapons had been shipped out of the country to be destroyed at sea.

At the Munich Security Conference, Kerry is expected to give a speech at the conference, along with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

mz/ (AFP, Reuters)

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