Russia ready to help guard Syria chemical sites, will not import arms

MOSCOW Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:51pm 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 Syrian chemical weapons sites and destroy President Bashar al-Assad's stockpiles but will not ship any of the chemical arms to Russia for destruction, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

Ryabkov was outlining some of the contributions Moscow is willing to make to implement a U.S.-Russian deal that calls for the destruction of Syria's chemical arsenal by the middle of next year.

"We will be ready to help in guarding those facilities where work is being carried out," the Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying at an arms fair in the Ural Mountains city of Nizhny Tagil.

Russia and the United States are the only countries with industrial scale capacity to handle mustard, VX, sarin or cyanide-armed munitions, but the import of chemical weapons is banned under U.S. law.

Ryabkov said Russia would not import chemical weapons either, state-run RIA reported.

"There can be no doubt - we will not do this," RIA quoted him as saying.

"We believe the destruction (of chemical weapons) on Syrian territory is the best option," he was quoted as saying, adding that the Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the export of chemical weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed this month to the deal, under which inspections of chemical weapons sites in Syria are to be completed by November 30 and its entire arsenal destroyed by June 30.

Permanent U.N. Security Council members Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France are trying to agree a resolution that would support the deal for Syria to abandon its chemical weapons and be acceptable to both Russia and the West.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly, Thomas Grove and Steve Gutterman; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (8)
UauS wrote:
OK, the Russians are going to watch Assad, but who is going to watch the Russians?..

Sep 26, 2013 1:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
barenski wrote:
snowden?

Sep 26, 2013 2:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
No one this is brilliantly played by Moscow, Kudos! Technically Assad could of invited them in for support/protection same cover as 79 Afgan war keep in mind Assad is still the official ruler of Syria nothing changed but this way any attack or provocation by rebel Sharia loving terrorists on those troops would set of a chain of events that brings in Russian military forces to rescue Assad under the cover they are protecting there own.Same scenario as Georgia when they attacked the Russian UN PeaceKeepers.

Sep 26, 2013 2:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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