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Moscow has no illusions with regards to destruction of Syria's chemical weapons could be destroyed in Syria

October 10, 2013, 18:28 UTC+3

Russia's Foreign Ministry official: it is clear that the destruction of chemical weapons will not go smoothly

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MOSCOW, October 10 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday that Moscow did not have any illusions with regards to when chemical weapons in Syria could be destroyed because the process was unlikely to be smooth. “We do not have any illusions about the fulfillment of this complicated task, especially the deadlines which have been set,” the Russian diplomat went on to say.

“It is clear that the destruction of chemical weapons will not go smoothly. Apart from the hard situation in Syria, some chemical weapons facilities may be located in areas of military hostilities,” Lukashevich emphasized.

He recalled that the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had recently worked out steps designed to destroy chemical weapons in Syria.

The United Nations Security Council has submitted recommendations on the U.N. and OPCW role in the inspection and destruction of chemical weapons in Syria. It was decided that the United Nations and the OPCW should at first establish a mission in Syria which could be headed by a United Nations under secretary-general.

“We believe that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118 should be fulfilled. We are convinced that immediate and concrete steps in support of joint efforts by the United Nations and the OPCW would make it possible to successfully destroy chemical weapons in the first half of 2014,” Lukashevich went on to say.

“We hope that the implementation of a program to destroy chemical weapons in Syria should be followed by more active international political and diplomatic efforts via the language of an international peace conference on Syria, which is known as Geneva-2. It is scheduled to take place in mid-November this year as it was agreed at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations secretary-general in New York on September 27,” Lukashevich said.

He added that a failure to convene an international Geneva-2 peace conference on Syria would have irreversible and destructive consequences not only for Syria but the whole region.

“The situation with the number of participants in the conference, especially those representing the Syrian opposition, is complicated,” the Russian diplomat said.

“The Syrian government has agreed on the composition of its delegation, which will be authorized to conduct talks with the opposition,” Lukashevich went on to say.

“As for the opposition, there are more questions than answers. The composition of their delegation is still unclear,” the diplomat noted.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that some countries were trying to form that delegation exclusively out of the National Coalition of the Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces which, he believed, would not reflect the opinion of the whole opposition.

Lukashevich recalled that the Geneva communiqué said that the composition of the Syrian delegations should respect the entire spectrum of Syrian society.

“The National Coalition can hardly claim to play such a role,” Lukashevich said. He added that the Syrian foreign minister had re-confirmed Syria’s intention to “negotiate with any forces that favour a dialogue and want to end the bloodshed.”

Asked to comment whether the inability of the opposition to send a delegation to Geneva would mean the conference’s fiasco, Lukashevich suggested refraining from such fatal scenarios.

“Today, we are facing broader tasks. It is unlikely that anybody is calling the idea of the conference into question,” Lukashevich said.

“We believe that they (the opposition) must create an efficient team that would be able to search for an agreement in order to resolve the tasks related to Syria’s future. Otherwise, the situation will become destructive for the whole region,” Lukashevich stressed.

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