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Russia concerned over Syrian rebels’ chemical weapons
September 25, 2013, 3:55 am

[Getty Images]

Lavrov said US and Russia share common approach to what should be done in the future [Getty Images]

Russia has raised fresh concerns over chemical arms in possession of Syrian rebels and has stressed on the urgent need for all chemical weapons in Syria to be destroyed.

Lavrov conveyed the Russian position to US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York early on Wednesday.

“There are serious concerns that the opposition might possess separate components of those harmful substances,” he said.

Lavrov said “both the Russian and the American side stressed [during the talks], that all chemical weapons in Syria should be destroyed.”

Lavrov said Russia and the United States share a common approach to what should be done in the future.

“The talks were productive, we have a common understanding of what should be done next, and that it should be done on the basis of the framework agreement reached in Geneva,” Lavrov said.

Washington and Moscow differ greatly on the terms of a Security Council resolution that would enforce Syria’s compliance with a US-Russian plan for the Syrian government to hand over its chemical arsenal.

Russia has said military threats cannot be part of the resolution.

When asked explicitly if the United States still insists that the resolution on Syria should authorize a foreign military action in case of non-compliance, the Russian minister replied only that “we are working within the framework agreed in Geneva.”

He gave no specific date when asked when the resolution is to be passed, saying that the work on it is under way.

“We expect that we will be able to agree on a UN Security Council resolution without crossing the borders outlined in Geneva, and [the resolution] will be passed shortly after members of the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] vote for the text of their decision,” he said, adding that the organization “plays a major role in these issues.”

The UN has announced that its chemical weapons inspectors will return to Syria on Wednesday to complete the probe.


Source: Agencies