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UN SC resolution approving OPCW decision should not include use of force provisions

September 17, 2013, 15:35 UTC+3

Russia ready to announce date for Geneva II conference immediately, Lavrov says

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MOSCOW, September 17 (Itar-Tass) - A resolution of the U.N. Security Council, which approves the decision taken by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will not contain any references to Chapter 7 (over the use of force) of the U.N. Charter, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the negotiations with visiting French counterpart Laurent Fabius here on Tuesday.

“We said about it clearly in Geneva. But it will not contain the U.N. Security Council commitments to control on a regular basis how a decision taken by the OPCW Executive Council is being fulfilled. If there are some cases of refusal from cooperation or some reports about the obstacles from either side or the reports about someone’s use of chemical weapons then the U.N. Security Council will consider this situation,” Lavrov said.

“It will be needed to make it clear whether these reports are a provocative act or not,” Lavrov added. “There are too many of them. All of them were aimed at provoking a foreign intervention. But if convincing data is produced the U.N. Security Council should take proper measures against the violators, these actions will be taken,” he said.

“The Russian-U.S. document holds that we want to focus on those possibilities that are laid down in the Chemical Weapons Convention, particularly Article 8,” Lavrov added. “This article holds that when the organization (OPCW) faces some difficulties in its work to destroy the chemical weapons in a country, it is empowered to address in the U.N. Security Council. Therefore, this link between the professional work of the inspectors, who will be feeling at the site how this is going on, and the U.N. Security Council, which will control progress of their work, will receive regular and urgent information, if some problems arise, will guarantee a quite reliable legal mechanism of supervising this process,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“We should not discuss Chapter 7 or 6 or anything else,” the minister said. “The top task is to fulfil a plan for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons,” he said.

“We call for the Russian-U.S. agreements to be fulfilled and are prepared to promote actively those approaches, which were agreed upon in Geneva in the previous week,” Lavrov added.

“France as other our partners is prepared to support these approaches,” Lavrov noted.

Two scenarios for Syria

Investigation into use of chemical weapons in Syria will become "a litmus test" for further work of the U.N. Security Council, the Minister said.

Russia's top diplomat said two scenarios lay ahead. These were "Whether we stick to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter and wait until someone states that the current rulers or the opposition used chemical weapons and drag in absolutely impermissible emotions, or rely on professionals who should study each report of this kind in detail and objectively and report to the U.N. Security Council.”

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

The UN investigators' report proved that chemical weapons were used, Lavrov said. “The questions that we had, we asked in the U.N. Security Council. We received no reply - to where the ammunition was produced or to other questions."

“The report needs to be studied, not separately, but along with all evidence which the internet is full of now,” he added.

Former CIA officials had said in a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama that the August 21 events were staged. “We want these cases to be investigated in an unbiased way; there are reasons to believe that (the bombardment of August 21) was a provocative act," Lavrov said. The truth should be found. This will be a touchstone for further work of the U.N. Security Council.”

Radical opposition

Syria’s radical opposition has vigorously resisted the Russian-U.S. initiative on disposal of chemical weapons in Syria, Foreign Minister emphasized

“The National Coalition (for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces - Itar-Tass) has vigorously opposed the Russian-U.S. initiative to destroy chemical weapons in Syria through mechanisms of the Chemical Weapons Convention, because it hoped that the problem would be resolved through military intervention,” he said. “They (representatives of the National Coalition) were disappointed that intervention did not take place and the issue was taken to be resolved through purely political and legal means.”

“In our opinion this position is counterproductive and those who exert influence on the coalition and those who have created it and continue to build it up, of course, bear responsibility for this,” Lavrov said.

Russian weapons

Several countries are reluctant to halt the unlicensed production of Soviet weapons, Sergei Lavrov said in reply to a question whether fragments of a missile with Cyrillic inscription were allegedly found in Syria.

“It is necessaryto examine the entire scope of factors, including available testimony of those, who visited the area where all this happened,” the minister added.

In the Middle East and North Africa a large amount “of various weapons is circulating,” Lavrov noted. “I saw a photo, a Cyrillic inscription is seen on a piece of ammunition,” he said. “So many weapons have been circulating in this region back from the Soviet times and the recent times,” Lavrov said.

The weapons, which are supplied to Libya in defiance of the U.N. Security Council embargo, are being spread throughout North Africa, “and probably even beyond it, there are some of them in the Central African Republic, Chad and Mauritania,” he added.

Russia calls for “the strictest control of all trade in weapons.” “We are seeking for illegal production of Soviet-era weapons continued in many countries to be halted,” the Russian foreign minister said. “Several EU and NATO states take this as a profitable business and are reluctant to agree on this to be halted,” Lavrov added.

Peace conference

 Russia is ready to announce the date for the international conference on Syria dubbed as Geneva II immediately, Lavrov said after talks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

“We are ready to name the date even tomorrow, even today, because the Syrian government has already expressed its readiness to send its delegation,” he said adding that dynamics reached as a result of the Russian-U.S. meeting in Geneva on September 12-14 would allow to improve the atmosphere for translating a long-standing initiative on a Syria peace conference into reality.

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