Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday warned that talk by western countries on the adoption of a “threatening” United Nations resolution on Syria could wreck peace efforts.
He spoke after Britain, France and the United States at a Paris meeting agreed on the need for a “strong and binding” UN resolution on the transfer of Syria’s chemical weapons to international control.
Lavrov said Russia opposed proposals by Western powers to swiftly pass a resolution including the use of force under Chapter Seven of the UN charter.
He called for the United States to adhere to the terms of the framework he and US Secretary of State John Kerry drew up in Geneva on Saturday.
Lavrov said that declarations “by some of our partners” that a resolution listing measures under Chapter Seven should be passed in the next few days “show lack of understanding of what we agreed on with John Kerry, and even unwillingness to read this document.”
“Chapter Seven was the subject of fierce debates at the US-Russia talks. As a result, it is not in the final text, but our partners want to replay unilaterally what we agreed in Geneva with the Americans,” Lavrov said.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmi in Moscow.
Referring to “announcements that are coming from European capitals,” Lavrov said he was “convinced… the American side will firmly adhere, as a normal negotiating partner, to what was reached” at the Geneva talks.
He insisted that the US-Russian framework agreement offered a real “practical route” towards destroying Syria’s chemical weapons.
He said that those who wanted to threaten Syria with strikes were choosing a strategy that could jeopardize future peace talks.
“If on the other hand, for someone it is more important to constantly threaten, to scare, to seek an excuse for strikes… then that is also a route to wrecking completely the chances of calling the Geneva-2 conference,” Lavrov said, referring to peace talks long proposed by Russia and the United States.
Lavrov and Kerry on Saturday announced a proposed deal under which Syria would hand over a list of its stockpiles within a week and would destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014 after intensive talks that ran into a third day.
The framework agreement said that the United Nations resolution “should provide for review” of Syria’s compliance on a chemical weapons ban.
It says that in the case of non-compliance with the terms of the new international ban on chemical weapons, the Security Council would urgently review the issue and then “could impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter” without specifying the use of force.
“That will be an absolutely different resolution,” Lavrov said, “and nobody can say as to what its contents would be.”
Russia and US agreed they would submit a draft decision to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) laying out the “extraordinary procedures” they believe it should take to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.
They also committed to “prompt adoption” of a Security Council resolution supporting the OPCW decision.