Russia says ready to help guard Syria chemical weapons sites: agencies

MOSCOW Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:36am EDT

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 18, 2013. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/SANA/Handout via Reuters

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is ready to help guard Syria's chemical weapons sites when President Bashar al-Assad's chemical arms stockpiles and factories are destroyed, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Thursday by news agencies.

"We will be ready to help in guarding those facilities where work is being carried out," Interfax news agency reported Ryabkov as saying at an arms fair.

Ryabkov was speaking as the United Nations Security Council works on agreeing to a resolution on a chemical arms deal that is acceptable to both Russia and Western countries.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed earlier this month to a deal under which Assad would account for his weapons stockpiles within a week and allow their destruction by mid-2014.

A major sticking point between Russia and the West has been whether the resolution is written under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which covers the Security Council's authority to enforce decisions with measures such as sanctions or military force.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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