MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday the US is “blackmailing” Moscow over a UN resolution on Syria that could allow the use of force.
"Our American partners are starting to blackmail us: if Russia does not support a resolution under Chapter VII in the UN Security Council, then we will stop the work in the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague," Lavrov said in a Channel One interview.
Lavrov said “this is an absolute withdrawal from” what had been agreed with US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this month – first the OPCW decision on Syria's chemical weapons and then the UN Security Council Resolution, but not under Chapter VII (action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression).
“Our Western partners are nervous as they understand: if Chapter VII is mentioned, this is a chance to get a justification from the UN Security Council for their unilateral actions,” Lavrov said.
“We advise them to save their nerves and adhere to the international law – the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and not devise resolutions, which in fact put this convention on the back burner and put forward their personal or geopolitical and national ambitions,” he said.
The Russian foreign minister also said Russia was ready to send servicemen and military police to Syria in an effort to secure the work of experts on chemical weapons sites. He added that he doesn’t think that “large contingents” are necessary. “Military observers would be enough," he said.
After weeks of intense diplomacy and an almost three-day-long marathon of talks in Geneva between Lavrov and Kerry, Moscow and Washington reached a breakthrough agreement in mid-September.
The deal stipulates that Damascus will submit a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons within a week, that weapons inspectors will be on the ground in Syria by November, and that all the country’s weapons will be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014.