West is rewriting agreement on Syria disarmament, says Russia


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The Independent Online

Western governments were accused by Russia on Monday of “rewriting” the Geneva agreement on Syrian chemical disarmament after they called for a speedy UN resolution which would permit military action if the Assad regime broke its word.

At a meeting in Paris, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the British and French foreign ministers, William Hague and Laurent Fabius, said they would push for a “strongly worded” resolution in the UN Security Council in the next few days. Mr Kerry said that the resolution must be “enforceable”. Mr Hague said that the world must “be prepared to hold (Syria) to account”. 

However, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, accused Britain and France of trying to toughen up the ambiguous wording of the agreement on Syrian disarmament which he reached with Mr Kerry in Geneva at the weekend. According to the Russian interpretation of the deal, there could be no immediate punitive action under Chapter Seven of the UN charter if Damascus failed to comply. A second resolution would be needed.

The comments made by the Western leaders yesterday suggest that they will demand a Security Council resolution this week which carries an immediate threat of military action if Syria drags its feet.

The negotiations came as a Turkish jet shot down a Syrian military helicopter yesterday after it entered Turkish airspace and ignored warnings to leave, an official said.