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Russia fears US will still use force in Syria

Moscow says talks with US on Syria are rocky, voicing concern chemical weapons deal may only delay US military action.

Last Modified: 24 Sep 2013 10:52
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Syrian President al-Assad meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov in Damascus in September [AFP]

Russia is concerned that talks with the United States on Syria are not going very smoothly and says the chemical weapons deal may have only delayed US military action.

"Unfortunately it's necessary to note that in contacts with the Americans, things are not going so smoothly...they are not quite going in the direction they should," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in parliament on Tuesday.

Ryabkov said Russia hopes the UN Security Council will reach agreement this week on a resolution supporting a deal for Syria to abandon its chemical weapons, but there is no guarantee.

He said US officials "always mention that plans to punish Damascus remain in force. We draw certain conclusions from that and assume that the threat of aggression in violation of international law is so far only delayed, not dismissed fully."

Ryabkov slammed the "illogical" position of the US and its Western allies for seeking to threaten the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the resolution.

Ryabkov reiterated that Russia would not accept a resolution that would trigger automatic punitive measures in the event of Syrian non-compliance with its obligations.

Controversial resolution

He said a UN Security Council resolution on Syria could mention Chapter VII of the UN Charter which allows force or sanctions, but stressed that the measure could be invoked only if a chemical weapons accord is violated.

"Chapter VII can be mentioned only as an element of the measures against violators... if there is a refusal to cooperate, carry out obligations or if someone -- it does not matter who -- uses chemical weapons," Ryabkov said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

"There can be no discussing the adoption of a resolution under Chapter VII about the automatic implementation of sanctions or all the more the use of force," he told the State Duma lower house of parliament.

The invocation of Chapter VII in a UN resolution has been a point of controversy between the US and Russia ever since the two Cold War foes forged a landmark agreement in Geneva this month to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

He emphasised that the resolution to be adopted by the UN Security Council should be aimed at bolstering decisions by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

He said that the Assad regime had already shown its good will to adhere to the accord by joining the convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons. 

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Source:
Agencies
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