Kerry arrives in Geneva to test Russia-Syria plan

Weapons and intelligence experts accompanied Kerry and will meet with their Russian counterparts Thursday and Friday. Some of the experts previously worked on inspection and removal of weapons from Libya and Iraq. 

The goal is to develop a concrete agreement that would direct how 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, other materials and their delivery systems can be safely isolated, put under international control and destroyed. 

"Our goal here is to test the seriousness of this proposal, to talk about the specifics of how this would get done, what are the mechanics of identifying, verifying, securing and ultimately destroying the chemical weapons," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said right before Kerry left Washington, according to The Associated Press. 

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Russia proposed the plan Monday in an attempt to avert U.S. military strikes on Syria. Syria has pledged to cooperate and said it will join the Chemical Weapons Convention. As a result, a vote in Congress has been postponed.

One U.S. official told the AP that the plan is “doable but difficult and complicated.” 

The same official also said they would be looking for signs that Russia is serious and would know quickly whether Russia is trying to stall. 

On Tuesday, Kerry warned Russia in a Google+ hangout: “This cannot be a game, and that we have made very, very clear to the Russians,” he said. 

“I don’t want to raise expectations because there are some big hurdles as far as verifiability and implementation that we have to cross.”

In his address to the nation Tuesday night, President Obama made clear the U.S. wants to pursue a resolution ratified by the U.N. Security Council that would require the removal of chemical weapons from Syria. 

Russia, however, a permanent member on the Security Council and Syria’s closest ally, has previously blocked efforts to hold Syria accountable at the U.N. 

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday night that, if the U.S. still intervenes in Syria militarily, there would be consequences. 

"The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not,” he wrote. “Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”

Kerry is first expected to meet the United Nation’s Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, before sitting down with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. 

The White House refused Wednesday to pinpoint a timeline for the diplomatic talks in Geneva, and if or when the U.N. will consider a resolution.