UN chief hails Syria’s bid to join UN treaty
“The Secretary-General has today received a letter from the Government of Syria, informing him that President [Bashar] Assad has signed the legislative decree providing for the accession of Syria to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction of 1992,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
In its letter to Ban Ki-moon on Thursday, the Syrian authorities said their country, which is not a signatory to the convention, agreed to comply with the agreement’s provisions before officially signing it.
“The Secretary-General welcomes this development, noting that, as depository of the Convention, he has long called for universal accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the statement added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met on Thursday in Geneva with US Secretary of State John Kerry for talks on Syria, welcomed earlier Damascus’ initiative and warned against protracting Syria’s accession to the convention.
After the UN accepted documents from Damascus concerning Syria joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, Syria has 'legally' become a full member of the treaty, Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said.
"Legally speaking Syria has become, starting today, a full member of the convention," Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters in New York.
Earlier on Thursday, UN spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed that they had received the documents necessary for Damascus' accession.
"In the past few hours we have received a document from the government of Syria that is being translated, which is to be an accession document concerning the Chemical Weapons Convention," Haq said.
Within a few days Damascus is expected to submit to the United Nations all documents required for joining the treaty and a month after the convention is signed, Syria will start handing over information on its chemical weapons to international organizations, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel.
“Syria is handing over its chemical weapons under international supervision because of Russia,” Assad said. “It doesn’t mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfil the obligations and that’s it. It’s a bilateral process aimed, first of all, at making the US stop pursuing its policy of threats against Syria.”
Meanwhile, during the first day of Geneva talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, Kerry has expressed doubts that Syria is ready to give up its chemical weapons stockpile and said President Assad has 10 days to join the treaty.
Syria was one of only seven countries not to have joined the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which commits members to completely destroying their stockpiles.
Terrorists are trying to provoke the United States into attacking Syria, Syrian President Bashar Assad said "Terrorists are trying to incite a US attack against Syria," Rossiya 24 television quoted Assad as saying in an exclusive interview. The Syrian president said believes chemical weapons attack was US provocation.
The Syrian president said rebels in Syria have chemical weapons that they received from some foreign countries.
"There are countries that supply chemical substances to opposition rebels," he said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he believes that the incident with the use of chemical weapons near Damascus on August 21 was a US provocation.
Military intervention threats of the recent days “were based on a US provocation”, Assad said.
An agreement concerning Syria handing over its chemical weapons arsenal under international control will come into force a month after Damascus will sign the Chemical Weapons Convention administered by the Chemical Weapons Convention, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also said in an interview.
“In my opinion, the agreement will come into force a month after we sign it and Syria will start handing over data about its stockpile of chemical weapons. It’s a standard procedure and we’re going to stick to it,” he said.
Syria will fulfil an initiative to hand over its chemical weapons only when the United States stops threatening to strike Syria, RIA news agency quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying in a television interview.
"When we see that the United States truly desires stability in our region and stops threatening and seeking to invade, as well as stops arms supplies to terrorists then we can believe that we can follow through with the necessary processes," he told Russian television, adding that Washington should dispense with the "politics of threats."
But he also signalled that he was willing to comply with international pressure.
"Syria will send its address to the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the next few days. That address will be accompanied by technical documents required for signing this agreement. That will be followed by work that will lead to the signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention," Assad said
Assad also said that the Convention has many clauses, including those that prohibit the production, storage and use of chemical weapons.
"After that, the Convention will take effect and, in my view, the agreement will take effect one month after being signed, and Syria will begin providing information on its chemical weapons arsenals to international organizations. These are standard processes and we will follow them," Assad said.
Assad said Syria will not be following these mechanisms unilaterally.
"That doesn't mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfill the conditions and that that will be it. This is a bilateral process," he said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Middle East, primarily Israel, should be free from weapons of mass destruction.
"When we proposed a project to liquidate stores of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, the United States impeded the project. One of the reasons was to allow Israel to have such weapons," Assad said.
"If we want stability in the Middle East, all countries should adhere to agreements and the first country to adhere to the agreements should be Israel because Israel has nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and all types of weapons of mass destruction," he said.
The rebels in Syria may use chemical weapons against Israel as a provocation, Syrian President Bashar Assad said.
"It has absolutely not been ruled out that this information is true and is used for the purposes stated earlier," he said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television responding to a question as to whether he has confirmation of the information reported by the Russian media saying that terrorists in Syria may use chemical weapons against Israel.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also has denied that his military commanders asked him for permission to use chemical weapons.
"They [the United States] are resorting to all kinds of lies, including what you said. The truth is that there absolutely has not been such a conversation in Syria at any level," Assad said.
The countries that provided chemical weapons to terrorist groups in Syria should be held responsible, Bashar al-Assad said.
"We should conduct an in-depth investigation into this case [the use of chemical weapons in Syria] in order to learn about the composition of these substances and what party used them. And most importantly, we need to learn what countries supplied the toxic substances to the terrorists and hold these countries responsible," he added.
"All countries are saying they don't work with terrorists, but we know that the West is providing logistical support to them," Assad said.
"They are saying these are non-lethal objects or humanitarian aid, but as a result the West and countries of the region such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and earlier Qatar, contact terrorists directly and support them by providing them with all types of weapons," the Syrian president said.
"We think one of these countries supplied chemical weapons to terrorists," he said.
Syria will subject its chemical weapons to international monitoring because of Russia, not because of threats made by the United States, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Rossiya 24.
"Syria will put its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia," Rossiya 24 quoted Assad as saying.
"Threats made by the US did not influence our decision to permit the monitoring of our chemical weapons by the international community," Assad said.
Voice of Russia, RT, Reuters, Interfax, RIA