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Lavrov: Assad remains same legitimate leader as in negotiations on chemical weapons

December 30, 2015, 16:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Assad was perfectly legitimate for the West when it was necessary to remove and destroy Syrian chemical weapons, and now has ceased to be, the Russian foreign minister points out

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. The West is led by someone’s whims, arguing that when the issue of Syria's chemical demilitarization was being settled President of the Arab Republic Bashar Assad was legitimate and now has ceased to be, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with the Zvezda TV channel.

"Measuring our feelings from this year by the ‘foreign policy yardstick’, we can see that the hardest and most important process of chemical demilitarization of Syria has been completed," he said. "I’d like to emphasise this, because the final results were summarised this year, and it happened at a time when we continue to actively pursue a political solution to the Syrian crisis."

Lavrov said that "some of our counterparts say they are ready to this [political settlement] only on the condition that Assad will be certainly excluded from the political process and from the future agencies, because he is illegitimate." "But Assad was perfectly legitimate when it was necessary to remove and destroy Syrian chemical weapons," the minister said. "Also, resolutions of the UN Security Council and the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] were adopted  and they welcomed the decision of the Syrian government to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Everything was fine and no questions about his illegitimacy arose."

"I have said many times and I repeat once again: I’m certain that the terrorist threat is no less serious than the threat of chemical weapons, the more so that it is becoming global and affects not only Syria," the Russian foreign minister said. "The luxury of being led by someone's whims, saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad was legitimate, and this year has ceased to be, is now unaffordable."

Lavrov said that in addition to the solution of the Syrian chemical weapons issue, 2015 saw the settlement of one of the most serious problems that over the past few decades has been increasing tension in international relations - the Iranian nuclear program. "The participants in the negotiations on it found a sound balance of interests, which ensures Iran’s right to peaceful development of the nuclear energy industry, including uranium enrichment [this was the primary interest of our Tehran partners] and simultaneously secures the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime," Lavrov said.

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