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STOCKHOLM, September 21 (Itar-Tass) - Russian presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said it would take two to three months to get the idea of how long it might take to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons and how much that would cost.
“It may become finally clear in two or three months how much time it will take, how this is going to be done technologically and how much this will cost. At this point, no one can give a definitive answer to this question,” Ivanov said on Saturday, September 21.
He believes that the location of all Syrian chemical weapons sites will be determined within a week. “We have to understand that he [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] does not control the whole country. We still do not know where all chemical weapons stocks are located. I think this will become clear within a week,” he said.
Ivanov stressed that the Syrian conflict would come to an end sooner or later, but one should think about where the people who are fighting there now, including terrorists, and who got weapons from Libyan arsenals will head after that. “They will not disappear. They will continue to use their weapons,” he warned.
Ivanov spoke at the Global Strategic Review 2013 of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies in Stockholm and said he could see from the reaction of the audience that Russia’s arguments were deemed well founded. “No one argued that international law is the keystone. No one argued that spring ends with autumn, followed by winter and frosts,” he said.
The Kremlin chief of staff believes that a diplomatic solution could be quite productive. “The last week has shown that diplomacy can achieve certain success if it has the will. Even if the international community disposes of all chemical weapons in Syria, this will not mean that the conflict ends there. But I am convinced that the implementation of the first task will yield a very positive result and will send a signal to the whole world,” he said.
Ivanov recalled that Syria had started providing the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with information on its chemical weapons stocks in a record short time. “This is a clear indication that Syrian President Assad keeps his word,” Ivanov added.
He noted that “the biggest challenge in disarming Syria, ridding it of chemical weapons will be not experts or technology but security.”