US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russia
n Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shake hands after making statements following meetings regarding Syria - (Reuters)
US Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Israel following the US-Russia talks in Geneva as President Barack Obama has welcomed the outcome of the negotiations.
Israel, eagerly expecting Kerry's arrival, has so far not commented on the deal struck by Moscow and Washington over Syria's chemical weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to be waiting to hold discussions with Kerry before making an official announcement on the issue.
Even though Kerry's trip was originally planned to discuss the Israel-Palestine issue, it is likely to be dominated by the Syrian crisis.
Meanwhile, Obama has cautiously welcomed the Syria plan laid out by John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
The US president said it is an "important step" forward in eliminating chemical weapons from Syria by mid-2014.
At the same time, he warned the use of force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot be ruled out if the regime does not adhere to the road map for either removing or destroying chemical weapons by the middle of 2014.
"The United States will continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations and others to ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today. And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act," said a White House statement.
China has also hailed the outcome of the Geneva talks. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said "the agreement will enable tensions in Syria to be eased".
Syrian rebels who have been fighting against Assad for more than two years have refused to accept the deal saying it undermines the uprising.
"We cannot accept any part of this initiative. We in the Free Syrian Army are unconcerned by the implementation of any part of the initiative... I and my brothers in arms will continue to fight until the regime falls," said General Selim Idriss, chief of opposition group Free Syrian Army (FSA), according to the AFP.
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