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Russia's priority is to prevent terrorists from getting chemical weapons — diplomat

November 21, 2014, 21:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Extremist groups have got control of chemical weapons and they can now end up anywhere, says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov
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© EPA/PETER STEFFEN

MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. Preventing chemical weapons from falling into the hands of terrorist groups is among Russia’s top priorities, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Friday at an international conference on nonproliferation.

“We are constantly inculcating the understanding of importance of practical actions in this regard,” Ryabkov said. In particular, he recalled that a draft statement of the UN Security Council head on the issue was submitted last week.

He said there are other problem points besides Syria. “Some 700 tons of poisonous substances remained in Libya. The facility came under control of extremist groups and weapons may get anywhere,” the diplomat said.

He also drew attention of his partners to reports that there is a danger of chlorine being used at territories not controlled by the Syrian government, as well as in Iraq. “We are constantly addressing the issue,” Ryabkov said.

Islamic State militants use chemical weapons in Syria

In early November there were reports of the Islamic State militants using chemical weapons in Syria. Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said the radical terrorist group launched a chemical attack on the Syrian city of Kobani. The Islamic State attacked the city with shells filled with an incendiary chemical agent, causing civilian casualties, the diplomat said.

Double standards in matters related to chemical weapons

Russian diplomats have repeatedly urged the United States to consider how harmful double standards are in matters related to chemical weapons in the Middle East. In a statement late October the Russian Foreign Ministry compared the Middle East to a testing site for terrorists to practice skills in synthesizing, producing and using chemical warfare agents.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov voiced his concern over chemical weapons in Libya going out of control. He said the country is out of control, and the risk of losing control over chemical weapons remains. “We talked about that long ago, when NATO’s bombardments were still in progress. We kept warning that it was fraught with the proliferation of these weapons about the entire region of North Africa. Now it has happened,” Gatilov recalled. “Some have been moved to Mali to end up in the hands of terrorists, and others were smuggled to Syria.”

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