U.S. welcomes news of chemical weapon progress in Syria

The U.S. welcomed the announcement that progress was made in Syria to remove an initial amount of priority chemical materials from the country, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the State Department, made the remarks on Tuesday during her daily press briefing. When asked if the removal of the materials represented a positive first step, Psaki said the announcement by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons showed progress toward eliminating Syria's chemical weapons program.

"Much more needs to be done," Psaki said. "As the international community has made clear, it is (Bashar al-Assad's) regime's responsibility to transport the chemicals to Latakia safely to facilitate their removal. We expect them to meet their obligations to do so."

Psaki also responded to a question about recent statements made by a Syrian government official on the political future of Bashar al-Assad. When asked to respond to a statement that the Syrian public would purportedly like to see Assad run again in 2015, Psaki said the U.S. position has not changed.

"Well, I haven't seen those comments before I came down here, Said, but our position hasn't changed that a brutal dictator who has killed tens of thousands of his people is not someone that we see a future for in the country of Syria," Psaki said.