Russia to guard Syria chemical weapon destruction
Updated: 2013-09-27 08:04
Russia is ready to safeguard the sites for destroying Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, a senior Russian diplomat said on Thursday.
"We are ready to take part in providing security around the sites where the work will be done," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the Russia Arms Expo-2013 fair.
He added that other member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization could also participate in that process but noted that much will depend on the general security situation in Syria.
Ryabkov hailed the United Nations' decision to send a new team of chemical weapons experts to Syria and said the new report after that investigation must be comprehensive and free from the one-sided and hasty conclusions the previous report contains.
Elsewhere, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday at UN Headquarters in New York, where they discussed issues surrounding global hotspots, including Syria.
Bashar al-Assad, Syrian president
Wang said China and Russia have maintained high-level cooperation on international and regional security issues, which he described as an important demonstration of the bilateral partnership.
Lavrov said Russia and China will step up cooperation on international affairs and contribute to safeguarding world peace and development.
Wang said on Wednesday that China is firmly against the use of chemical weapons and strongly backs efforts to seek a political settlement of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis.
The Syrian issue has been a hot topic on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The US has been urging the UN Security Council to pass a resolution allowing the use of military force to ensure Syria open its stockpile of chemical weapons to the international community for inspection and destruction.
Wang had earlier reiterated that the Syrian issue could only be solved through political means, not a military solution, during a luncheon with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the four other foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, Assad said Syria is committed to the deal to hand over its chemical weapons, as major powers inched closer to a UN resolution enshrining the agreement.
The Syrian president, in an interview with Venezuelan television station Telesur on Wednesday, said he saw "no obstacles" to the plan under which Damascus will relinquish its chemical arms.
Assad told Telesur his government is committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which it signed as part of the US-Russian agreement on the destruction of its chemical arsenal. "Syria is generally committed to all the agreements that it signs," he said.
He said Damascus had begun to send the required details of its chemical arsenal to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is overseeing the deal, and that OPCW inspectors were expected to visit Syria.
"Experts (from the OPCW) will come to Syria in the coming period to look into the status of these weapons," he said.