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MOSCOW, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed Syria’s unconditional accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
“The main step that allowed us to promptly prepare all documents for submission to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the main step was taken by Damascus, of course,” Lavrov told Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) television programme on September 14.
“The Americans say this was done in response to their threat to use force. Whatever, that is not important for us,” he said, adding that what is important for Moscow is that Damascus “announced its accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention without reservations or preconditions.”
“And although a month has to pass since the application under the Convention before a state comes under these obligations, it [Damascus] said they were ready to honour the obligations. No, they did not say that, they wrote this obligation officially under the Convention and will honour it under the Convention from the date of application,” the minister said.
“It doesn’t matter who prompted them. I think everyone was interested in having Syria joining the Convention,” Lavrov said.
The U.N. Secretary-General confirmed the receipt of the letter from the Syrian authorities on September 12, in which they pledged to observe the obligations set forth in the Convention even before it enters into force.
“In their letter, the Syrian authorities have expressed their commitment to observe the obligations entailed by the Convention even before its entry into force for Syria,” the U.N. said.
However, 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.
Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said: “In legal terms, Syria has become a full party to the Convention today.”
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.
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.”
The Syrian authorities have 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.