Russia Sunday accused the US of threatening to thwart the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Syria if Moscow drops support for a UN Security Council resolution allowing the use of force.
“It is an absolute deviation from what we have agreed on with (US Secretary of State) John Kerry — to have an OPCW decision first and then to adopt a UN Security Council resolution supporting this decision but not based on Chapter VII,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russia’s Channel One television, Xinhua reported.
The minister said Damascus has officially joined the Chemical Weapons Convention and was ready to comply with its rules immediately without waiting for a month before it becomes a full member.
The Syrian authorities, Lavrov said, have confirmed that they were ready to disclose the full data about the size, whereabouts, types and other information of their chemical weapons.
“I think it would be irresponsible and incompetent to disregard the chance to work professionally,” he said.
Lavrov noted that the West wanted the Security Council resolution not only to support the OPCW’s decision, but also to carry provisions on the defence of human rights and the International Criminal Court.
“They see the Russian-US agreement as a chance for themselves to…insist on a ‘use of force’ resolution targeting the regime and defending the opposition,” he said.
The diplomat hailed the statement by UN chief inspector Ake Sellstrom that the experts would return to Syria soon to investigate the alleged chemical weapons use Aug 21 outside Damascus, while urging the inspectors to also investigate “the incidents of Aug 22, Aug 24 and Aug 25 when government forces were attacked with warfare gases.”
Lavrov also demanded the Syrian opposition to surrender their chemical weapons, which were seized over the lasting conflicts.
“While OPCW inspectors are preparing to take chemical weapons’ storage facilities under their control, those who finance and sponsor extremists and other opposition groups should find a way to demand the surrender of everything (the weapons) they have seized that must be destroyed in line with the Chemical Weapons Convention,” said Lavrov.