29 September 2013, 11:06

Lavrov says Syrias rebels have chemical arms, proof mounting

Сергей Лавров Совет безопасности ООН Совбез ООН

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia has collected sufficent evidence to implicate Syrian rebels in using chemical weapons near Aleppo on March 19. According to Foreign Minister Lavrov, sarin gas, that was unleashed against civilians outside the northern city was crudely-made, as the Russian investigation confirms.

The Russian foreign chief added the results of the probe were available to all member states of the UN Security Council.

“We have information that the tragic incident on August 21, where chemical weapons were used according to confirmed reports, involved sarin of the same origin as the chemical toxin fired on March 19, although it was far stronger. We have submitted these findings to our US partners and to the UN Secretariat,” Lavrov told Russia’s Channel One.

The minister also reminded journalists about a phone call between two rebel fighters that was caught on tape and subsequently covered by the Kommersant newspaper.

Lavrov said Moscow made the incident known to the US and other proponents of the Syrian opposition, calling on them “to make sure that their ‘charges’ kept their hands off any chemical weapons or their components, to say nothing of using them”.

“We are certain that militants have more than once attempted such provocations. Therefore, the direct sponsors of opposition forces, who offer them support, must also see to it that they give up on further provocations,” the minister underscored, adding that Syria’s security agenda must be tackled only with help from its government.

"The main idea is to let the OPCW experts play the first fiddle, while the UN plays a supporting role by providing additional personnel if needed and, first and foremost, by protecting watchdogs that are to inspect Syrian chemical arms depots as listed by the country’s government”.

“Of course, we are still to agree the details of this plan. In this sense, the UN Security Council’s resolution will entitle the UN secretary general to come forth with his recommendations during consultations with the OPCW’s chief."

Mr. Lavrov stressed that there was a duty on the opposition, as well as on the government, to guarantee the security of UN inspectors.

Lavrov urges Syria neighbors to bar opposition from obtaining chemical arms

UN member countries, especially Syria's neighbors, should not allow their territories to be used for providing Syrian opposition groups with chemical armaments or their components, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Channel One on Saturday.

The resolution stresses chemical weapons must not fall into the hands of non-governmental entities, which the opposition is.

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution concerning the disposal of Syrian chemical weapons and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has approved the scrapping plan.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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