Last updated: 12 September, 2013

Lavrov: Syria weapons handover makes strike unnecessary

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Syria handing over chemical weapons and joining the treaty banning them would make US strikes against the country “unnecessary.”

Lavrov told journalists ahead of talks with US counterpart John Kerry that their goal is to agree how to “solve once and for all the problem of chemical weapons in Syria” through the country’s joining of the chemical weapons convention.

“The solution of this problem makes unnecessary any strikes on Syria, and I am sure that our American partners… are strongly in favour of a peaceful way to regulate chemical weapons in Syria,” Lavrov said, speaking alongside Kerry in Geneva.

The United Nations earlier said that Syria has formally applied to join the convention banning chemical arms, sending relevant documents.

“We will have to see, together with experts… what further actions to take so that this process is not delayed and is proceeding in accordance with the strict rules of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Lavrov said.

He added that the talks also give a chance to discuss the potential international Geneva conference to “take the current situation out of the stage of military confrontation” and bring the warring sides together for negotiations on a transitional government.

“That is our common goal and I hope that work today and tomorrow… will help get closer to it,” he said.