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Syria prepared to give up chemical weapons

September 10, 2013, 18:26 UTC+3

Prime minister of Syria Wael al-Halqi supports Russian proposal on giving control to international parties

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KUWAIT, September 10. (Itar-Tass) – Damascus supports the initiative put forward by Moscow, which is aimed at ceasing bloodshed in Syria and prevention of a full-out war which can engulf the whole region, said Prime minister of Syria Wael al-Halqi.

“Syria supports Russia’s initiative which hopes to put an end to bloodshed and prevent war,” SANA news agency quotes him as saying.

Earlier this week Russia urged Syria to place chemical weapons under international control“We do not know whether Syria will agree to this, but if such international control over chemical weapons in that country helps avoid the strikes, we will start working with Damascus immediately,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday, September 9.

“We urged the Syrian leadership not only to come to agreement on the placement of chemical weapons storage sites under international control but also on their subsequent disposal and on [Syria’s] full accession to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Lavrov said. “We have already passed this proposal to Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Muallem and expect a quick, and I hope positive,” reply,” he said.

International reaction

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime could avoid a military operation against his country by surrendering its chemical weapons. On Tuesday John Kerry confirmed that the U.S., France and United Kingdom agreed to look into the option proposed by Russia within two weeks.
  •  Acceptance of Russia’s chemical weapons initiative by the world community is a glimmer of hope for peaceful settlement of the conflict that appears in the last minute, the head of the German Social Democratic Party’s faction in the Bundestag (lower house), former foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday. After Russia had made its proposal Moscow and Washington should agree on further “concrete and convincing actions with binding timeframe and mechanisms for sanctions,” he said adding that the conflicting parties should announce cessation of arms within 72 hours as a minimum from the beginning of negotiations between Russia and the United States. Steinmeier criticized the German government, which over “its shaky course” in searching the ways for settling Syria’s conflict had discredited itself. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel also said there is now hope for peaceful resolution during an election campaign meeting in Rust, Baden-Württemberg. 
  • The European Union supports Russia’s initiative on international control over chemical weapons in Syria but wants more information about its practical realization, Michael Mann, Spokesman for the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said on Tuesday.
  • Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman of India’s Foreign Ministry, said that his country welcomes all initiatives for curbing chemical weapon use in Syria, answering a question regarding Russia’s proposal on the issue. “We consistently advocate destroying chemical weapons,” he said. The official added that India is against a military strike on Syria and supported the Geneva-2 conference.


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