MOSCOW (Sputnik) - France and other EU countries are looking for pretexts for sanctions, working out a plan to simplify the procedure for imposing sanctions for alleged use of chemical weapons, Vladimir Ermakov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, said on Tuesday.
"These are their domestic games, so… it's just a pretext. They just want to impose sanctions, so they are looking for various pretexts," Ermakov told journalists commenting on France's proposal.
There are no chemical arsenals in Syria now, which is confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), he stressed.
"Moreover, it is impossible to assume, even hypothetically, that [Syrian] government forces have used chemical weapons. It is not beneficial for them. That is two key factors: there are no chemical weapons in the arsenal of government troops and they do not have any need to apply, even if that was possible," the official explained.
The whole madness around this issue can be explained by the fact that Syrian government troops with the assistance of Russian Aerospace Forces continue restoring control over the country's territory, Ermakov concluded.
According to Monday's media reports, EU countries plan to approve on Wednesday the creation of a new mechanism that will allow Brussels to impose sanctions on individuals for the use of chemical weapons more quickly. According to Reuters, the initiative comes from Paris and is associated with cases of alleged use of chemical weapons by Russia and Syria. The West has repeatedly accused Russia and Syria of using chemical weapons, while Moscow and Damascus reject these accusations.
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