Russian FM: U.N. "absolutely one-sided" on Syria, chemical weapon deadline set for March 1
Russia's Foreign Minister told reporters Tuesday that a new U.N. humanitarian resolution on Syria is "absolutely one-sided" and unacceptable, according to Agence France Presse.
"The ideas that were shared with us by those initiating this process... are absolutely unacceptable and contain an ultimatum for the government, that if they don't solve all this in two weeks then we automatically introduce sanctions. Instead of engaging in everyday, meticulous work to resolve problems that block deliveries of humanitarian aid, they see a new resolution as some kind of simplistic solution," said FM Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow.
Diplomats at the U.N. have been trying to convince Russia to support the new resolution that "demands that all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, immediately end the sieges of the Old City of Homs."
Lavrov's main criticism of the resolution, which was drafted by Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg, is that it is "one-sided and detached from the facts," the latter in reference to what the FM has described as militant rebel groups as the "main impediment" to delivering the allocated aid to Homs accordingly.
Lavrov also noted that the besieged cities of Zahra and Al Hasakah also deserve international attention and aid, and that the U.S. should spend more of its effort focusing on the spread of terrorism in the country.
"It's time for the Security Council to pay attention to an equally frightening aspect of the Syrian crisis, and that is the growth of terrorism due to the conflict. It's time to... speak out in principle about the terrorist threat, to approach this problem systematically," said Lavrov.
In related news on Syria Tuesday from Moscow, the Syrian ambassador to Russia told reporters that the "most dangerous" chemical weapons in the country's stockpile will be removed by March 1 from the country, according to Reuters.
"A large part of the chemical weapons, the most dangerous stocks, will be taken out of the country by March 1 [and] I think we'll stick to the June 30 deadline," Interfax News Agency quoted Syrian ambassador Riad Haddad.
Damascus has already missed two deadlines agreed upon under the U.S.-Russia brokered deal for the chemical weapons removal at the end of 2013 and earlier this month, largely blaming security issues and rebel attack threats for these previous delays.
Under the agreement, the chemical weapons are supposed to be taken to the port city of Latakia to be eventually removed and destroyed at sea.