‘Chemical arms experts to begin Syria CW probe'

‘Chemical arms experts to begin Syria CW probe'
Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:05:20

Russian foreign minister has announced that the international chemical weapons expert will soon travel to Syria to begin inspecting the country’s chemical arms arsenal as part of the effort for their eventual destruction.

Sergei Lavrov was cited on Saturday by his ministry’s website as saying that a team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be “departing for Syria in the coming days to take under control the stockpiles in rapport with the Syrian authorities.”

The Russian foreign minister further emphasized that the OPCW inspection team will play a “key role” towards resolving Syria’s chemical weapons issue, while the UN will provide assistance to ensure the security of the group, which will inspect the sites declared by Damascus.

“The Syrian government has presented a declaration, as required by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which specifies the sites holding chemical agents,” Lavrov added, noting that the document has been approved by Russia, the US, the EU and the OPCW experts.

The Russian official also stated the declaration contains “enough” information for the inspection team to “start work.”

The development comes as UN Security Council (UNSC) voted unanimously on Friday to pass a binding resolution, requiring Syria to destroy its chemical weapon stockpiles.

According to the document, the UNSC "decides, in the event of noncompliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter."

This is while the US has persistently argued that the threat of military force is crucial to ensuring that the Syrian government abides by the terms of the US-Russia plan to secure and eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.

The UN resolution, however, does not authorize the automatic use of force in case Syria is found not to be in compliance, as the Russian foreign minister reiterated on Saturday that it absolutely rules out the use of force or any application of Chapter VII.

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