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UK expert: Russia’s plan on Syria better than US military strike

September 12, 2013, 15:26 UTC+3
Shashank Joshi referred to disarmament experts who have already acknowledged that Russia’s plan is demanding but “technologically and humanly possible”
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LONDON, September 12 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian initiative on Syria’s chemical disarmament with all expected difficulties in its implementation and the West’s suspicions can achieve more than a US military strike, Shashank Joshi, a research fellow at the London Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said in an article released on Thursday.

He says, Washington “can only gain” from the project proposed by Moscow.

The UK leading expert in combating terrorism also drew attention to the tasks for Syria that have been made public by US President Barack Obama and stressed that “opening Syrian stockpiles to inspectors and destroying even a fraction of the weapons could go further to achieve the West’s goals than the type of limited attack under consideration.”

“This isn’t to say that the Russian plan is without pitfalls,” the analyst stated. “The tasks of assessing and destroying a country’s chemical weapons are daunting.” “Almost a decade after promising to disarm, Libya still possessed almost half of its mustard gas and precursors; Syria has a much bigger stockpile. The US started destroying its chemical weapons in the 1990s, and the effort is expected to drag on until 2023 at a cost of $35 billion,” Joshi noted.

“In addition, huge risks are involved with moving chemical weapons across a warzone, and destroying them in place will require building expensive, specialised facilities,” the expert stated. According to him, “At the very least, more centralised storage sites under heavy international monitoring would make it harder for the regime to prepare further chemical weapons or use existing stockpiles.”

“An intermediate solution could also require that some substances be moved out of the country, under heavy Russian guard,” Joshi added. Judging by the forecasts circulated in London, Damascus wants to admit only Russian representatives to the country with this aim. He explained that “the country’s weaponised stockpiles - for instance, sarin gas stored in missile warheads -- could be prioritised for elimination, leaving less threatening agents for later,” the expert believes.

Joshi referred to disarmament experts who have already acknowledged that Russia’s plan is demanding but “technologically and humanly possible.”

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