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Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister meets Syrian opposition in Damascus

September 19, 2013, 12:31 UTC+3
Russia's Deputy Foreign minister gives Itar-Tass exclusive interview
1 pages in this article
Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

Chemical warfare evidence

MOSCOW, September 19. (Itar-tass) - Russia is ready to submit evidence of Syrian opposition using chemical weapons to the UN on Thursday,  said Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister and presidential Middle East envoy in exclusive interview to Itar-Tass.

“We plan to do is as quickly as possible, tonight or tomorrow,” he said, explaining that Ryabkov is expected to return to Moscow Thursday night after his talks with Bashar Al-Assad, where he was given new evidence incriminating militants in deploying chemical weapons.

“We expect all available information, not just one investigation into one incident, will be taken into consideration,” Bogdanov said.

Meetings with opposition

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met with representatives of the Syrian opposition in Damascus, the diplomat reported.

These meetings were organized by the Russian Embassy to Syria; Bodganov clarified that Ryabkov met with Qadri Jamil, head of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation and leadership of the Syrian National Council. “We believe that this oppositionist organizations are influential in the Syrian society and hold a patriotic stance against external and, more importantly, forceful intervention in the Syrian conflict,” the official said.

“That’s why we believe that it’s very important and fruitful to know their approach to resolving the crisis and to creating a democratic secular state,” the diplomat said.

Further contact

“We are ready to organize contacts not only with the opposition, but also between the opposition groups, maybe in Moscow,” the diplomat added.

“Long ago invited leadership of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces to Moscow; we are ready for contacts with its representatives in other countries,” said Bogdanov, adding “It is not ruled out that we will have contacts in New York within the framework of the UN General Assembly.”

Destruction of chemical weapons

Commenting on Ryabkov’s meeting with Syrian government, Bodganov emphasized that results were quite good and answers to a lot of questions were found.

“The bottom line is that the Syrian government is quite serious about its immediate cooperation with OPCW,” the diplomat said, adding that Damascus is preparing information on its chemical weapons to be submitted to the organization. 

UN resolution

Russia believes that a new UN resolution on Syria is required to back the OPCW decision. “We will then observe how all involved parties, primarily those in Syria, will observe OPCW requirements, backed by the UN Security Council,” Bogdanov said.

Media coverage

Bogdanov also addressed the Syrian issue on the sidelines of the 15th General Assembly of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA), saying that Russia expects the global media to objectively cover the Syrian conflict, Bogdanov said.

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