9 December 2013, 19:30

Russia could help transport Syrian chemical arms to port - Russian Foreign Ministry

Russia could help transport Syrian chemical arms to port - Russian Foreign Ministry

Russia could help provide transport to take Syrian chemical weapons to the Mediterranean port of Latakia for removal and destruction at sea, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday.

"Transport, yes ... the issue is being discussed," Bogdanov told reporters when asked whether Moscow could provide security or transport to help get the weapons to Latakia, from where Syria is due to send them to a floating destruction facility.

"My understanding is that the Syrian authorities should protect (the shipments)."

Mikhail Bogdanov said he had high hopes for United States logistical assistance in destroying the Syrian chemical weapons at sea.

"Of course, the issues of transportation and security are being resolved by all participants of the process and military ships should be here. As far as I understand, mutual understanding exists at a very high level between all participants of the process to implement this task. I think that an optimal solution will be found," Bogdanov said.

"In this case, high hopes are on our US partners. They have a specially equipped vessel to implement such a task," Bogdanov said.

Bogdanov said he warned the extremist forces of Syria against attempts to prevent the transpiration of the Syrian chemical weapons to the Latakia port.

"The main thing is that no one obstructs this. Terrorists and extremists, who are probably trying to create a problem. Nothing can be ruled out," Bogdanov told reporters on Monday.

The issue of granting vehicles to transport the chemical weapons to the Latakia port "has been discussed closely with the US colleagues, including via the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)," Bogdanov said. "I suppose that optimal solutions will be found," he said.

The Syrian authorities will be the ones dealing with guarding the chemical weapons, the deputy minister said.

Kerry says US, Russia working on scrapping Syria chemical weapons

The US and Russia are working together on the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

Russian media have cited Kerry as saying the two world powers were trying to assess the stockpile of war toxins to then take it out of Syria.

The US foreign affairs chief underscored the role that Moscow had played in preventing the Syrian crisis from escalating. He pointed out it was the diplomatic effort that helped the international chemical weapons watchdog go ahead with scrapping Syria’s stockpile.

Kerry also confirmed the operation to rid Syria of its chemical weapons was due to wrap up by 2014.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, TASS, Interfax

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