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Russian diplomat calls for responsible approach to investigating chemicals use in MidEast

November 21, 2014, 15:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

It would be wrong to act based on the presumption of innocence of the authorities in Damascus, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov says

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MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. Russia’s high-ranking diplomat has called for taking a responsible approach towards investigating the use of chemical weapons in the Middle East.

“In recent times the question of using chlorine as a chemical warfare agent in Syria and other Middle East countries is raised in media and on political platforms. We do not underestimate the problem. We believe that this is a serious problem, which requires a responsible approach,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the International Non-Proliferation Conference on Friday.

“It would be wrong to act based on the presumption of innocence of the authorities in Damascus,” he said.

“We should wait for a final version of the mission’s corresponding report for establishing the facts. We should look at the logic of this process: for what reason the government in Damascus should lay itself open to criticism attack by using chemical weapons?” Ryabkov asked.

There are no reasons for dramatising the remaining tasks in Syria’s chemical disarmament, he said.

“Much was done by Damascus without proper documentation. Something has been lost during the last years’ period of turbulence. But Damascus proves the readiness to follow this direction,” Ryabkov said.

“Syria’s military chemical potential has been eliminated. In due course the problem should turn in examples of successful cooperation. We do not believe that there are grounds for dramatising the situation with the remaining unsolved problems,” he said.

“Further the work should be done professionally and calmly for achieving the sought outcome. Russia is ready for such work and will make constructive contribution as earlier it did,” he said.

“Among other matters, the successful liberation of Syria from chemical weapons stockpiles is the contribution to forming a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East,” Ryabkov said.

“We believe that the neighbouring countries with Syria should responsibly treat the current moment. Those who did not join the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should consider such possibility, including due to Syria’s experience in this aspect,” he said.

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