Russia FM: West manipulates Syria deal

Russia FM: West manipulates Syria deal
Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:10:56

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Western governments of “rewriting” the Geneva agreement on Syrian chemical disarmament after they called for a speedy UN resolution which would permit military action if the Assad government broke its word.

Lavrov said on Monday that Britain and France are trying to toughen up the ambiguous wording of the agreement on Syrian disarmament which he reached with his American counterpart John Kerry in Geneva at the weekend.

According to the interpretation of the deal, there could be no immediate punitive action under Chapter Seven of the UN charter if Damascus failed to comply. A second resolution would be needed.

He added that the plan that Russia agreed to follow did not involve any automatic use of military force against Syria unless sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

Lavrov stressed that the exact details of the terms for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile are yet to be determined by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), while the future UNSC resolution is to endorse the decision of that organization rather than enforce particular terms on its own. This is part of the agreement the US and Russia reached, he said.

The destruction of the stockpiles would be the responsibility of the Syrian government and the CWC, the Russian minister pointed out, but international community may be required to provide “additional international personnel” to provide security at the sites where the weapons would be scrapped.

Lavrov said it may be time for the West to force the Syrian opposition to attend the planned Geneva conference. He was speaking in Moscow after meeting Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.

The US threatened to use military force against the Syrian government over the alleged use of chemical weapons near Damasucs in August. The threats came after years of support of militants in Syria by Washington and its allies.

Syria denies having any role in the suspected sarin attack, saying it was a provocation of the opposition militants aimed at securing US military help.

Russia brokered a deal with Syria, under which it applied for membership in the CWC. Joining the international organization involves destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal.


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