Middle East

Russia rejects US scepticism about Syria chemical arms

A car carrying U.N. weapons inspectors who had been gathering evidence and samples relating to alleged chemical weapons use in Syria enters the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) building in The Hague in this August 31, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Phil Nijhuis/Files

MOSCOW: Russia said on Friday that scepticism expressed by the United States about Syria's declaration of its chemical weapons stockpiles to an international watchdog was unfounded.

Washington's UN envoy Samantha Power said this week that the United States was concerned about previous "broken promises" made by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

But Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the comments showed US disrespect for both the United Nations and the team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) responsible for implementing the Syrian disarmament plan.

"These unfounded statements about Damascus hiding information are nothing but... a show of disrespect for the work being done in Syria by two esteemed and authoritative organisations -- the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," Lukashevich told reporters.

The joint Russian-US Syrian chemical weapons disarmament plan was endorsed by the UN Security Council in September.

It requires the destruction of Syria's entire chemical weapons arsenal -- estimated at about 1,000 tons -- by the middle of 2014.





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