Damascus to comply with U.N. on chemical weapons plan

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Damascus will commit to a U.S.-Russian plan to eradicate its chemical weapons once it has United Nations approval, Syria’s information minister told British television Sunday, reported Agence-France-Presse late Sunday.

“Syria is committing itself to whatever comes from the U.N.,” Omran al-Zoubi told ITN. “We accept the Russian plan to get rid of our chemical weapons. In fact we’ve started preparing our list,” he said in comments carried by AFP.

“We are already documenting our papers and we have started to do our job,” he added. “We don't waste time.”

The comments were made a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov announced a deal to clear Syria of its chemical arms stockpile by mid-2014, after three days of negotiations in Geneva.

Syria will only implement the deal when it “turns into something more concrete,” following a U.N. Security Council vote, stated Zoubi.

“For 40 years Syria has always been trusted once it has committed itself.”

Zoubi added that war-torn Syria would “absolutely”" grant access to U.N. weapons inspectors, saying the country “respects and honors what it says.”

“We take this agreement very seriously,” the minister said.

The Syrians referred to the deal as a “victory,” according to Minister Ali
Haidar who made the comment in an interview with Moscow’s RIA news agency on Sunday.

“These agreements ... are a victory for Syria, achieved thanks to our Russian friends.”

(With AFP and Reuters)