Russia 'ready' to send military observers to Syria
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday that Moscow is ready to help fully implement the removal of chemical weapons from Syria by putting Russian military observers on the ground in Syria. (AFP/File)
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Russia says it is ready to send military observers to Syria, as a security measure for efforts to eliminate its chemical weapons, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Lavrov also added that his country is not considering sending a full military contingent to Syria.
Preventing the theft of weapons and ensuring security are major challenges for the US-Russian deal stipulating the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on Russian state TV’s Channel One, Lavrov said Russia proposed that there be an international presence on the perimeter of all areas where chemical weapons experts will work in Syria, The Associated Press reported.
“We are ready to share our servicemen and military police to participate in these forces," but "it seems to me that military observers will be sufficient,” he was quoted as saying.
Russia and the US have cooperated on the chemical weapons plan, however, they espouse differences on several aspects of the Syrian crisis.
The United States, along with France, are pushing for a U.N Security Council resolution that would authorize the use of force if Syria fails to comply with the chemical weapons agreement. However, Russia opposes invoking the UN Charter’s Chapter 7, which would allow force.
Lavrov criticized what he called “impudent” attempts by the West to include that chapter in the resolution, according to The Associated Press.
The Russian minister said the West is unable to admit that their previous military interventions, such as in Iraq and Libya, led to severe problems.
“They are primarily interested in the evidence of their own superiority. And is not the task that drives us - to solve the problem of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.
Opposition forces stationed on the outskirts of the capital regularly fire rockets and mortar rounds into Damascus, including the area around the embassy in the center of the city, reported The Associated Press.
However, this attack marks the first time that they have hit the embassy compound itself, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in comments carried by The Associated Press.