20-10-2017 06:05 AM Jerusalem Timing

Lavrov: Chance for Syria Peace Can’t Be Missed

Lavrov: Chance for Syria Peace Can’t Be Missed

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday there is a chance of peace in Syria which cannot be missed, calling for for maximum efforts in order to get out of the storm.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey LavrovRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday there is a chance of peace in Syria which cannot be missed, calling for for maximum efforts in order to get out of the "storm" in reference to the recent escalation on the Syrian crisis.

"I'm positive there is a chance for peace in Syria, and it cannot be missed. Tomorrow we’ll discuss this issue with Secretary of State John Kerry,” Lavrov said after meeting his Kazakh counterpart in Astana.

Echoing sentiments previously expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said Russia’s active diplomatic efforts were intended “to prevent external military intervention in Syria, which would only lead to further destabilization in the country and throughout the entire region.”

Regarding the Russian initiative, which has “gathered widespread support,” Lavrov noted it was forwarded with “the understanding that it will waive the use of armed force against Syria.”

Lavrov further said a delegation of Russian and American chemical weapons experts who “have the necessary knowledge to identify relevant solutions to such issues” would be present in Geneva.

“It is necessary ensure Syria’s adherence to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which would entail a declaration of Syria’s chemical weapons storage sites and the disclosure of its chemical [weapons] program," he said.

Lavrov also said that the Russian-US meeting in Geneva was not intended to “usurp” the preparatory process for resolving the Syrian question.

The top Russian minister is to meet with his US counterpart John Kerry in Geneva to hammer out the details of Russia’s initiative to put Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control.

During the meeting, Kerry and Lavrov will attempt to reach a deal on a UN Security Council resolution that would require Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control, allowing for their further destruction. Syria would also be expected to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Russia remains opposed to elements of the French-drafted UN resolution, which included a timetable and the threat of force to facilitate Syria’s acquiescence to the plan.