Lavrov: US, Russia Contacted Syria Directly to Get Chemical Weapons Data

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Russia and the US directly communicated with the Syrian authorities to obtain data on chemical weapons, said Russia’s Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov.

Lavrov: US, Russia Contacted Syria Directly to Get Chemical Weapons Data

Lavrov said Syria gave certain guarantees on chemical weapons use even prior to its entry into the OPCW.

"We worked directly with the Syrians in order to also understand how safe it all is there," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with "Saturday News" program on Rossiya 1 TV channel following his resultative meeting with US Secretary John Kerry in Geneva.

"The American side, perhaps, now we can say about it, also directly contacted the Syrian government to get clarification on this particular issue,” Lavrov said noting that he was not certain whether the US was in contact directly with Bashar Assad, but “they were in contact to see how safe is the storage of chemical weapons.”

The Foreign Minister assured that Damascus gave a written guarantee that it will begin to fulfill the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention from the moment the government applied, without waiting for official confirmation of accession.

On Thursday, Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari stated that Syria had “legally” become a full member of the global anti-chemical weapons treaty, RT reported.

This followed President Bashar Assad signing a legislative decree that "declared the Syrian Arab Republic approval to accede to the convention," while Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem had written to the OPCW to notify them about accession.

In his Saturday remarks, Lavrov praised Damascus's active role in efforts to settle the crisis which allowed Russia and the US to agree so quickly on terms of putting the Syrian chemical weapons under international control.

"Damascus was the one to make the crucial step that allowed us to prepare all documents for the entry to Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) so promptly,” he said.

On Saturday the UN said it had received all documents necessary for Syria to join the chemical weapons convention and that Syria would come under the treaty in 30 days starting on October 14. While the OPCW is to consider Syria’s inquiry in the following week.

Earlier on Saturday, following a third day of negotiations in Geneva, Russia and the US came to an agreement over the complete destruction of not only Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, but also its production and refinement capabilities until the middle of 2014.

 

 

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