A Syrian Arab News Agency handout shows Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and President Bashar al-Assad
A Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) handout from September 18, 2013 shows Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (left) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Damascus. A UN Security Council resolution on Syria could mention Chapter VII of the UN Charter which allows force or tough sanctions, a top Russian diplomat said Tuesday. © - SANA/AFP/ File
A Syrian Arab News Agency handout shows Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and President Bashar al-Assad
AFP
Last updated: September 24, 2013

Russia says UN Syria resolution could mention Chapter VII

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A UN Security Council resolution on Syria could mention Chapter VII of the UN Charter which allows force or sanctions, a top Russian diplomat said on Tuesday.

But Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stressed that the measure could be invoked only if a chemical weapons accord is violated.

Speaking to the Russian parliament, Ryabkov also slammed the "illogical" position of the United States and its Western allies for seeking to threaten the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the resolution.

He said that UN inspectors would be returning to Damascus on Wednesday to investigate an August chemical attack outside the Syrian capital, which the West blames on the Syrian regime and which Russia says could have been carried out by the rebels.

The invocation of Chapter VII in a UN resolution has been a point of controversy between the United States and Russia ever since the two Cold War foes forged a landmark agreement in Geneva this month to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

"Chapter VII can be mentioned only as an element of the measures against violators... if there is a refusal to cooperate, carry out obligations or if someone -- it does not matter who -- uses chemical weapons," Ryabkov said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

He emphasised that the resolution to be adopted by the UN Security Council should be aimed at bolstering decisions by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

"There can be no discussing the adoption of a resolution under Chapter VII about the automatic implementation of sanctions or all the more the use of force," he told the State Duma lower house of parliament.

He said that the Assad regime had already shown its good will to adhere to the accord by joining the convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons.

"In this situation the attempts of the Americans -- actively supported by the British and the French -- to push the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution which would contain a direct threat to Syria look absolutely illogical."

"Contacts with the Americans (after Geneva) are, unfortunately, not going as smoothly as we would like," he added.

He later appeared to qualify his earlier remarks on Chapter VII, saying there "does not have to be any reference" to Chapter VII in the UN resolution backing up the OPCW's decisions.

Ryabkov expressed satisfaction that UN chemical weapons experts would be returning to Damascus "tomorrow, September 25" to investigate the chemical weapons attack outside Damascus in August.

He said it was possible to make "substantial refutations" of all arguments that the Syrian government may have been behind the attack.

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