MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) – Damascus’ decision to join the Chemical Weapons Convention makes the planned US military strike on Syria redundant, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.
“We presume that a solution to this problem makes any strike on Syria redundant. I’m convinced that our US partners, as President [Barack] Obama has said, definitely prefer a peaceful solution to Syria’s chemical weapons issue,” Lavrov said ahead of talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.
He warned against protracting Syria’s accession to the convention.
The US diplomat said Damascus had 10 days for submitting all required documents, adding that there was “nothing standard” about a 30-day lead time requested by Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom the US accuses of using chemical weapons.
Kerry went on to doubt the Syrian government’s readiness to give up its chemical weapons stockpile.
“The words of the Syrian regime, in our judgment, are simply not enough, which is why we've come here in order to work with the Russians,” he said. “President Obama has made clear that should diplomacy fail, force might be necessary.”
“Expectations are high. … This is not a game,” Kerry said. “It has to be real. It has to be comprehensive. It has to be verifiable. It has to be credible. It has to be timely and implemented in a timely fashion, and finally there ought to be consequences if it doesn't take place.”
The talks between Russian and US top diplomats have begun in Geneva. Lavrov said the talks should give an additional boost to preparations for an international Syria reconciliation conference in Geneva.
Lavrov is also to meet with UN Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi during his visit to Geneva.