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Russia concerned over deteriorating situation in Iraq — Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich says Russia is extremely alarmed over Islamic State gunmen’s capture of chemical weapons storage near Baghdad in Iraq

MOSCOW, July 09. /ITAR-TASS/. The situation in Iraq is deteriorating, Russia is in solidarity with Iraqi authorities’ efforts in the fight against terrorism, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“Current events in Iraq show that terrorism had already got beyond national borders and is acquiring a regional dimension,” he said. “We are in solidarity with efforts to rebuff terrorists. We are still convinced that a firm shield on the path of extremists will be attainment of national accord and consolidation of efforts to settle ripen problems through a broad domestic dialogue in Iraq and to work out consensus-based agreements between all participants in Iraqi domestic political process," Lukashevich stressed.

Russia “is extremely alarmed with Islamic gunmen’s capture of chemical weapons storage Al-Mutanna in Iraq, 90 kilometres southwest of Baghdad", Lukashevich added.

Lukashevich noted that not only the destruction of Iraqi chemical weapons within deadlines is threatened, but this also “presents a serious threat in terms of use of toxic agents seized by terrorists".


Situation in Syria

Russia is extremely alarmed over Islamic State gunmen’s capture of chemical weapons storage near Baghdad in Iraq, Lukashevich added.

Russia urged the United States to assess unbiasedly the situation in Syria and revise its large-scale plans to arm the so-called moderate Syrian opposition, Lukashevich said.

“As long as strong forces are overwhelming the weak (forces), weapons can inevitably fall and are falling, unfortunately, in the hands of terrorists,” he noted. “In this regard, we appeal again to our Western partners, primarily the United States, to assess unbiasedly the current events in Syria and revise its large-scale plans of arming the so-called moderate opposition," he stressed.

Russia highly values the Syrian authorities’ efforts to destroy all components of chemical weapons in the country, Lukashevich stressed.

“All components of chemical weapons were taken away from Syria,” the diplomat said. “This is a unique international operation for all 17 years the convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons is in effect and for the activity of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in general. Along with the joint mission Russia, China, the United States, Denmark and Norway participated in it.”

“It is extremely important that despite a complicated security situation, the Syrian authorities could fulfil its international liabilities decently and have taken more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents from the country, and more than 100 tons were neutralized at storage facilities,” Lukashevich noted.


Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Russian Foreign Ministry recommended Russians staying in Israel and Palestinian territories to be highly vigilant, Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“In the last few days, tensions have sharply intensified in the Gaza Strip,” the diplomat noted. “Missile shelling continues. Over the last few days, more than 70 people, including 50 civilians were killed. More than 500 people were wounded.”

“We confirm that we are convinced of strong need to break this vicious circle of violence and stop sufferings of people,” Lukashevich noted.

“We recommend Russian citizens staying in Israel and on Palestinian territories to show higher vigilance, refrain from any visits to places that may be shelled,” the Russian diplomat noted.