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Lavrov: Step towards Cleaning Middle East from MDW's

DAMASCUS,(ST)- Sergei Lavrov, the veteran Russian Foreign Minister declared in Geneva today that the agreement reached with his US counterpart, John Kerry, following the accession of Syria to the Chemical weapons Convention (CWC) was based on  "consensus" and "compromise".

Minister Lavrov added in a joint press conference with Kerry, that the proposed deal with the US on Syrian chemical weapons, announced today, contained nothing about the potential use of force nor about any automatic sanctions.

Minister Lavrov reiterated that the Syrians themselves should decide their own destiny by themselves, asserting that the solution of chemical weapons case in Syria is but a step towards the cleaning of the Middle East region from Mass Destruction weapons (MDW's).

Minister Lavrov pointed out that the agreement of today is a basic step towards the finding of a comprehensive solution for the crisis in Syria, asserting that both Russia and the USA agreed that Syria has to remain a secular State where all of its citizens coexist.

On his part, Minister Kerry disclosed that all parties recognize the fact that there is no military solution for the crisis in Syria and that the solution should be political, declaring that the ongoing efforts by Minister Lavrov and himself are but an implementation for the agreed upon between presidents Putin and Obama in St. Petersburg.

The agreement “could be the first critical, concrete step” towards ending the Syrian crisis and seeing peace in Syria, Kerry added.

Minister Kerry added that the Syrian Government must submit a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons stocks within a week and  provide the UN with full access to its chemical sites, and insisted that the plan to remove the chemical arsenal should be transparent.

On the timetable, Kerry said UN inspectors must be on the ground no later than November, while the destruction of chemical weapons must be completed by the middle of 2014.

Minister Kerry acknowledged that it was possible that the Syrian "rebels"  have some chemical weapons.

According to RT, the closing remarks mark the end of three-day negotiations between Kerry and Lavrov. Earlier the parties stated the only solution to the ongoing Syrian crisis lies within the framework of the “Geneva-2” peace talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin also recently said the proposal could only succeed if the US and its allies calls off military strikes.

Earlier today, Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, wrote on Twitter that the United States is setting an unrealistic timeframe for Syria to hand over its chemical weapon arsenal: "The demand by the United States to hand over chemical weapons to international control in two or three weeks is simply unprofessional,"

"In Syria there are at least 42 storage facilities, some of them in battle zones," Pushkov  added.

In a recent interview with Rossiya 24 TV, H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad said that over 10 years ago, Syria presented the UN with a proposal for a WMD-Free Middle East; this was because the region is turbulent and has been immersed in wars for decades. Thus, removing unconventional weapons would be rational in order to enhance stability, at that particular time the U.S hindered the proposal.

“Firstly, in principle we strive for peace and stability therefore we do not perceive the existence of WMD’s in the Middle East to have any positive effect.” Said H.E. President Al-Assad.

“ Secondly, in relation to current developments, Syria as a state genuinely seeks to avert another war of lunacy on itself and countries in the region, contrary to the efforts of warmongers in the U.S who seek to inflame a regional war.We continue to pay the price of U.S wars, be it in geographically distant Afghanistan or neighboring Iraq. We believe that a war on Syria shall be destructive to the region and embroil it in a quagmire of instability for decades or generations to come.” Added H.E. President Al-Assad.

“Thirdly, and most remarkably, what was most encouraging was the Russian initiative itself, without which we would not have been able to pursue this path.” Concluded H.E. President Al-Assad.



M. A. Al-Ibrahim