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UN calls for international action if use of chemical weapons in Syria is proven

September 09, 2013, 20:22 UTC+3
Syrian Foreign Minister welcomeы Russia’s call for placing his country’s chemical weapons facilities under international control
1 pages in this article
Photo ITAR-TASS Yuri Belinsky

Photo ITAR-TASS Yuri Belinsky

UNITED NATIONS, September 9 (Itar-Tass) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for international action if the use of chemical weapons in Syria was proved.

He welcomed the relevant proposals put forth by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We do not know whether Syria will agree to this, but if such international control over chemical weapons in that country helps avoid the strikes, we will start working with Damascus immediately,” Lavrov said.

“We urged the Syrian leadership not only to come to agreement on the placement of chemical weapons storage sites under international control but also on their subsequent disposal and on [Syria’s] full accession to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Lavrov said. “We have already passed this proposal to Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Muallem and expect a quick, and I hope positive,” reply,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime could avoid a military operation against his country by surrendering its chemical weapons.

“Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week - turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it), but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done,” Kerry said.

Ban said he was considering several proposals which he would present to the U.N. Security Council when it reviews the findings of the U.N. chemical weapons experts’ mission to Syria.

“I have not yet received the report from Dr. [Ake] Sellstrom, nor do I know what it will contain. But I do know there has been significant speculation regarding a major use of chemical agents on August 21st leading to the death of hundreds of civilian people,” Ban said on Monday, September 9.

“Should this be confirmed by the report from Dr. Sellstrom and his investigation team, then this would be an abominable crime, and the international community would certainly have to do something about it,” he said, adding that “two and half years of conflict in Syria have produced only embarrassing paralysis in the Security Council.”

“Should Dr. Sellstrom’s report confirm the use of chemical weapons, then this would surely be something around which the Security Council could unite in response -- and indeed something that should merit universal condemnation,” Ban said.

The Secretary-General said he was “considering certain proposals that I could make to the Security Council when presenting the investigation team’s report.”

He stressed the “need for accountability, both to bring to justice those who used them -- should Dr. Sellstrom confirm their use -- and to deter anyone else from using these abhorrent methods of warfare. There would be a need for greater security regarding any chemical weapons stocks.”

Syrian response

 Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem welcomed Russia’s call for placing his country’s chemical weapons facilities under international control.

The proposal was put forth by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during his talks with Muallem on Monday, September 9. “I want to say that Syria welcomes the Russian initiative, considering the Syrian leadership’s care about the life of our citizens and security of our country,” Muallem said.

“We also welcome the wisdom of the Russian leadership which is trying to prevent American aggression against our people,” he added.

“We do not know whether Syria will agree to this, but if such international control over chemical weapons in that country helps avoid the strikes, we will start working with Damascus immediately,” Lavrov said.

“We urged the Syrian leadership not only to come to agreement on the placement of chemical weapons storage sites under international control but also on their subsequent disposal and on [Syria’s] full accession to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Lavrov said. “We have already passed this proposal to Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Muallem and expect a quick, and I hope positive,” reply,” he said.

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