Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Russia Wants Syria to Join Chemical Weapons Convention

Logo of the Organisation for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in
the Hague, the Netherlands.
As a possible outcome of President Obama's meeting with President Putin of Russia, Russia is proposing a UN draft declaration backing an initiative to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control.

France is independently seeking a UN response under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said the initial French draft resolution is "unacceptable" because it simply holds the Syrian government responsible for the use of chemical weapons.

Obama, according to the NY Times, is prepared to pursue control of chemical weapons in Syria by working through the UN.

Besides Obama - for whom the Russian proposal provides a face-saving alternative to a military strike - French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron have said they will review the Russian proposal seriously.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet in an emergency session at 4 p.m. to discuss Syrian use of chemical weapons. President Obama will address the nation on Syria this evening at 9 pm Eastern Time - at WH.Gov/Syria.

While little-mentioned in the Mainstream Media so far, Russia appears to want to give the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) more authority, and in particular wants Syria to join in the membership. He also told Russian television today that the United States and its allies should "pledge to renounce the use of force" as world powers work to deal with the Syrian chemical weapons issue. He said:
It is difficult to make any country -- Syria or any other country -- unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration.
According to Interfax (Russia's news agency), Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Moallem says that it is willing to disclose the location of its chemical weapons, stop producing more of it, and allow inspection by representatives of Russia, the UN, and other unspecified states, according to a report today from Russia's Interfax news agency. Reuters says Syria promises to give up chemical weapons, but there is no deal on the table yet at the UN.