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Lavrov: Experts' work over Syrian chemical weapons will become touchstone for UN Security Council

September 17, 2013, 14:31 UTC+3
“Moscow still has serious reasons to believe that the use of chemical weapons near Damascus is a provocative act,” Lavrov noted
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Photo ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metsel

Photo ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metsel

MOSCOW, September 17 (Itar-Tass) - The investigation of the cases of using the chemical weapons in Syria will become a touchstone for further work of the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Tuesday.

 “This will be a touchstone for further work of the UN Security Council. Whether we stick to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and wait until someone states that the current authorities or the opposition used chemical weapons and will drag in absolutely impermissible emotions or we will rely on professionals that should study each report of this kind in detail and objectively and report about already objective situation to the UN Security Council,” Lavrov said.

“Moscow still has serious reasons to believe that the use of chemical weapons near Damascus is a provocative act,” he noted.

Russia ready to cooperate

Russia’s Foreign Minister added: “Russia is ready to participate in the activities to ensure security along the perimeter of the sites where Syrian experts and experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will work.”

Opening talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Sergey Lavrov stated that he looked forward to discussing with his French counterpart steps to resolve the problem of chemical weapons in Syria.

“We continue to work closely with France on relations with the EU, NATO, UN,” Lavrov noted. “Of course, the meeting will allow us to have a detailed exchange of views on the most serious problems, on Syria and the steps that should to be taken to settle (the situation), starting from chemical weapons.”

Russia and France share a position that the problem of destroying the chemical weapons should be settled, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated. “We thank our French friends for supporting the Russian-US agreements,” he said.

New meetings scheduled

Laurent Fabius said in Moscow on Tuesday that the meeting of Russian and French foreign and defense ministers would be held in Moscow in November.

“I’ll be back in Moscow in November, it will be a meeting of the foreign and defense ministers,” the minister said. “The French prime minister will be in Russia.”

According to Fabius, the high-level contacts continue.

The Russian-French commission on economic issues will meet at the level of prime ministers of the countries before the end of this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the negotiations with Laurent Fabius.

“Before the end of this year a quite intensive schedule of bilateral contacts is planned, including regular meetings of the council for economic, financial, industrial and trade issues and a meeting of the Russian-French commission at the level of prime ministers,” the minister said. “The scope of issues to boost economic cooperation will be discussed at these events,” Lavrov said.

Russian investments welcome

France seeks to attract Russian investments into its economy, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

“Our opinions on most international issues coincide,” he said adding that this concerns key contemporary problems. “We share Russia’s opinion on all issues related to science and culture.”

“Economic relations are also important,” Fabius said. “And we could increase our bilateral trade.”

France helps spread Russian language

Russia welcomes measures taken in France to spread the Russian language, according to Sergei Lavrov.

“Our nations have always demonstrated interest in cultural and historical heritage of each other, therefore cultural and humanitarian aspect of our cooperation is so important,” he said. “In 2013-2015 Russia and France host cross-cultural seasons of theatre, cinema and arts. We are preparing future events that will be interesting for both the Russians and French.”

“Opportunities for opening a Russian-French elementary school and lyceum in Paris are now being studied,” Lavrov said. “We are grateful to our French friends for attention they pay to the project on the construction of the Russian Orthodox cathedral and cultural centre in the French capital.”

Agenda of the talks

Russian and French Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Laurent Fabius held talks in Moscow on Tuesday at which they had a detailed discussion of most important issues on the international agenda, including the major regional problems, and first of all the situation around Syria following the Russian initiative to pass the Syrian chemical weapon under the international control, as reported earlier by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Despite the well-known disputes around approaches of Russia and France to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, the high quality of the Russia-France dialogue allows us in the atmosphere of openness and trust to work on common approaches and ways of cooperation to search for a resolution of that lasting conflict,” the ministry noted.

The meeting agenda also included the Middle East settlement issue, the situation in Egypt and Mali, and the situation around the Iranian nuclear program. In addition, the parties plan to consider at the talks the state of and prospects for Russia’s cooperation with the European Union, issues of preparation of a new Russia-EU framework agreement, advancement towards a short visa-free travel regime for citizens.

“With the growing mobility of Russian and French citizens, as contacts between people and various exchanges are growing, of importance remains further liberalization of the visa regime within the framework of the Schengen agreements and the Russia-EU agreement on easier visa formalities of 2006, as well as improvement of the bilateral legal base in family relations,” the RF Foreign Ministry noted.

The ministry also said Russia would favor improvement of cultural and humanitarian exchanges and contacts between the people of Russia and France. “It has become a good tradition to have annual ‘cross’ actions. In 2013-2015 we have the Russia-France Seasons of theatre, cinema and fine arts. In the framework of discussing further expanding of cultural exchanges, the ministers will discuss improvement of the Russian language’s positions in France of the French language’s positions in Russia, as well as development of cooperation in education”. Lavrov and Fabius also analyzed the continuing project of building a Russian Orthodox cathedral and a spiritual centre in Paris.

Sergei Lavrov and Laurent Fabius discussed possibilities for interaction in security issues, including in the sphere of combating terrorism and drug trafficking, will exchange views on Euro-Atlantic region’s security and basic trends for the development of cooperation between Russia and NATO, including the deployment of the anti-missile systems in Europe, and the situation in Afghanistan,” the ministry informed.

The talks’ agenda also included issues related to the prospects for the development of cooperation in the trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres. The two foreign ministers will give special attention to the fulfillment of agreements reached during French President Francois Hollande’s working visit to Russia this February.

Geneva agreement

The French foreign minister had discussed with the colleagues from the UK and United States, William Hague and John Kerry, in Paris on September 16, the situation in Syria with emphasis on the implementation of the Russian-American agreements, reached in Geneva. The meeting participants stressed the need to ensure quick and strict fulfillment of the above agreements by the Syrian conflict sides. “The Geneva agreement is an important step forward,” said Fabius. “The Geneva agreement should be implemented as soon as possible and should serve as a starting point for the launch of a political process in Syria.”

Russia hopes that the UN Security Council’s draft resolution on the transfer of the Syrian chemical weapons under international control, which is currently being prepared by countries of the West, will be based on the agreements, reached at the meeting between Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told Russian reporters on Monday. “The French colleagues are currently preparing the draft with the American and British sides. I hope that this draft will be based on the Geneva accords, and not contain the elements that they sometimes put into their public statements,” he said. According to the diplomat, the document should support the plan of the transfer of the Syrian chemical weapons under the UN control, which will be approved by the resolution of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Churkin specified that it might be adopted at the OPCW Executive Council meeting as early as Friday.

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