Envoy: Russia Will Not Take Syrian Chemical Arms

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 26, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

A seni­or Rus­si­an dip­lo­mat on Thursday said his na­tion would not ac­cept any Syr­i­an chem­ic­al-arms ship­ment to its ter­rit­ory un­der plans to sub­ject the weapons to in­ter­na­tion­al mon­it­or­ing and de­struc­tion, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

“There can be no doubt — we will not do this,” Rus­si­an Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Ry­ab­kov said. An in­ter­na­tion­al treaty pro­hib­its such trans­fers, and do­mest­ic leg­al re­stric­tions also would pre­vent the United States from im­port­ing the weapons, he ad­ded in com­ments re­por­ted by the Rus­si­an gov­ern­ment news agency RIA Nov­osti.

“We be­lieve the de­struc­tion (of chem­ic­al weapons) on Syr­i­an ter­rit­ory is the best op­tion,” he said. In­ter­fax quoted him as say­ing Rus­si­an of­fi­cials “will be ready to help in guard­ing” Syr­i­an chem­ic­al-arms fa­cil­it­ies where work is be­ing car­ried out.

Mean­while, Mo­scow and Wash­ing­ton have hammered out broad para­met­ers of a U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil res­ol­u­tion on their plan to rid the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment of its chem­ic­al-war­fare stock­pile, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted on Wed­nes­day. The draft would al­low for po­ten­tial pen­al­ties in re­sponse to any non­com­pli­ance by Dam­as­cus, but the text would not con­tain an out­right en­dorse­ment of pos­sible mil­it­ary strikes.

Mean­while, Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad re­portedly said his gov­ern­ment holds weapons more po­tent than chem­ic­al arms, Le­ban­on’s Daily Star news­pa­per re­por­ted.

“Ini­tially, we man­u­fac­tured chem­ic­al arms in the [19]80s as a de­terrent weapon to con­front Is­rael’s nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al,” the Le­banese news­pa­per al-Akh­bar on Thursday quoted him as say­ing.

“Now, they are no longer a de­terrent weapon. Today, we have more im­port­ant and more soph­ist­ic­ated weapons that can blind Is­rael in a mo­ment.”

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