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Syria puts forth no conditions for turning in chemical weapons

September 13, 2013, 1:22 UTC+3

Bashar Jaafari said the relevant notices had been sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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UNITED NATIONS, September 13 (Itar-Tass) - Syria is ready to put its chemical weapons stock under international control voluntarily without any preconditions, Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said on Thursday, September 12.

“We put forth no preconditions,” he told the journalists, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had signed the relevant decree on the country’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons. “In legal terms, Syria has become a full party to the Convention today,” he said.

He said the relevant notices had been sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.

He presented a copy of the message to Ban, in which Syria undertook to comply with the terms of the Convention.

U.N. deputy spokesperson Farhan Faq said the U.N. needed time for the lawyers to study the letter to see if it could be considered an instrument of accession to the Convention as there were certain procedures to be observed.

Jaafari said chemical weapons stocks had been regarded by the Syrian authorities as “deterrence” against Israel’s nuclear capabilities. “Now the time has come for the Government of Syria to join the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and give up weapons of mass destruction,” he said, expressing hope that “this will serve an example for Israel to follow.”

Earlier in the day, the Syrian authorities accepted Russia’s proposal to put chemical weapons stocks under international control for subsequent disposal. President Assad said Damascus would provide complete information on its military chemicals industry within 30 days of accession to the Convention.

Assad stressed that Damascus insisted on the return of the U.N. chemical weapons experts to the country in order to “finish their work as prescribed by the signed protocol and visit the regions where the use of chemical weapons was reported, particularly Khan al-Asal near Aleppo.”

“This must be done in order to determine where the rebels got the toxic gases. The countries that provided them with chemical substances and allowed them to be used must be held accountable,” Assad said.

He noted that “Washington has so far not presented any convincing evidence to prove its accusations against Damascus.”

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