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Russia to submit clear plan for resolving Syrian chemical weapons issue soon

September 10, 2013, 13:24 UTC+3

The plan developed together with the Syrian side will be submitted to all interested parties, including the United States

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Photo ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

Photo ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, September 10 (Itar-Tass) - Russia will soon submit a clear action plan for resolving a chemical weapons problem in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“The plan developed together with the Syrian side will be submitted to all interested parties, including the United States,” he said. “We maintain constant contacts with Secretary of State Kerry, in particular, yesterday we had a telephone conversation on this issue.”

“This work is still necessary to investigate all cases of chemical weapons use,” Lavrov is convinced. “UN experts should definitely go back to Syria and to fulfill their mandate in full.” “The truth must be disclosed, those responsible must be called to account,” the Russian minister said. “We are in constant contact with US Secretary of State Kerry; in particular, yesterday we held a telephone conversation on the topic,” Lavrov said.

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov said that Russia has made proposals for the control of chemical weapons to Foreign Minister of Syria. “We urge the Syrian leadership not only to agree to store chemical weapons under international control, but also to subsequently destroy them, as well as to fully join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Lavrov noted.

Syria has welcomed the initiative of Russia. Britain, France, China and Iran have also supported the idea.


Not quite the Russian initiative

“The proposal for setting Syrian chemical weapons under international control is not quite the Russian initiative,” Lavrov added. “It arose out of the contacts with American colleagues, from yesterday's statement by John Kerry, who left open the possibility to avoid strikes if the problem (of chemical weapons) will be solved.” Since Moscow in its efforts is trying to use any opportunity, “we suggested to Walid al-Moallem to consider this possibility, to place chemical weapons under international control with prospects for an agreement on their complete elimination, and to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

“We note the general positive assessment of the proposal in the world, the positive assessment of Ban Ki-moon,” the minister said. “As for the comments from the US, I assume that the decision is taken by the head of state,” Lavrov continued. “In one of the interviews (yesterday) Barack Obama called the proposal a potential breakthrough and said that if there is a way to solve the problem by diplomatic means, it would be preferable.”

“Obama added that if he could create a clear workable mechanism (of chemical weapons control), then he completely supports it, but specifics are needed,” the minister said.


Criminals who used chemical weapons in Syria must be brought before court

Libya's Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz after talks with his Russian counterpart supported the Russian initiative on chemical weapons in Syria. "The Russian initiative hasn’t been discussed in the framework of the League of Arab States (LAS) yet,” the minister, who is the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Arab League, said. “I want to say on remand that the initiative is very good and deserves attention. It can have an overall international importance, and lead to very positive results. Yesterday, for example, Libya has signed an agreement with the US on the destruction of chemical weapons in the south.”

Mohamed Abdelaziz said that the criminals who used chemical weapons in Syria must be brought to justice. “If you do not know how to control chemical weapons, you shouldn’t purchase them,” he added.

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