Sunday, September 29, 2013

"There's Growing Evidence That The Syrian "Opposition" Possesses Chemical Weapons

Lavrov: There's growing evidence that the Syrian "opposition" possesses chemical weapons

Sep 28, 2013

New York, (SANA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that the "opposition" in Syria possesses chemical weapons, and that there's growing evidence proving that.

In an interview given to Channel One Russia on Saturday, Lavrov said that Russia has become aware of a phone call between two militants in Syria about the use of chemical weapons.

He said that he discussed this issue with his US and European colleagues and other countries who support the opposition, and asked them to "make their students refrain from any new attempts to seize chemical weapons or their components and particularly from using it," adding that Russia knows that the opposition tried such provocative acts several times before.

Lavrov said that the sides supporting and sponsoring the opposition are directly responsible for preventing the recurrence of such acts, and that Russia published information proving that the "opposition" in Syria possesses chemical weapons and submitted evidence to the UN, adding that the results of the investigation it conducted about the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal in Aleppo on March 19th are available to all Security Council members.

He said that the Sarin gas used in Khan al-Assal was produced in a non-industrial manner, and that Russia has information that the materials used in the August 21st incident were approximately from the same source but more concentrated, noting that all this information was submitted to the US and the UN, while Syria gave Russia data linking the opposition to incidents of chemical weapons use which should be investigated.

Lavrov stressed that Russia isn't trying to usurp truth which showed be proven by professional investigation, something which the G8 leaders agreed to in June, voicing surprise over of the G8 countries leaders who affirmed directly that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in August 21st and that there's no need for investigations to prove this, saying that such statements are considered backing down from the agreement made by the G8 members.

The Minister said that the Syrian government submitted a report revealing the sites where toxic materials are stored as per the Chemical Weapons Convention requirements, and this report was fully accepted by experts at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Russia, the EU and the US, with the Americans saying that they evaluate it as more than a "4 out of 5."

He said that OPCW experts will head to Syria soon and establish supervision of the aforementioned storage facilities in cooperation with the Syrian authorities to verify the information submitted to them, adding that scrutiny isn't unlikely, but the Syrian government's report contains information which experts consider very close to the truth and sufficient to begin work.

On the delay of reaching a resolution at the Security Council, Lavrov said that this was because they wanted to eliminate any chance of backing down from the Geneva agreement which took time, noting that the resulting resolution doesn't permit anyone to use it to justify the use of force, unlike the resolution on Libya which was under Chapter Seven.

He noted that the Europeans and Americans insisted on employing Chapter Seven in the resolution, something which Russia was strongly opposed to due to the Libyan experience and some sides' ability to interpret Security Council resolutions liberally, so Russia didn't want any excuses or justifications to repeat the same scenario in Syria.

H. Sabbagh

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