Syria’s chemical disarmament opens way to political settlement
However, there should be no illusions that the process of
chemical weapons destruction will be a cakewalk.
The endorsement by the UN Security Council of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recommendation on overseeing the destruction of Syria’s CW, which resulted in establishment of a first-ever joint UN/OPCW mission, is an important step in this direction. This will enable countries, including Russia, to assess in more detail the parameters of their participation in the chemical disarmament of Syria. We strongly believe that only immediate and concrete actions by the international community in support of the joint effort of Syria and the OPCW will successfully help solve the task of eliminating chemical weapons in the first half of 2014.
But it will be a challenging task. Not only because a number of
storage facilities might be located in battle zones. Reports
about some third countries illegally using uncontrolled
territories of Afghanistan to train militants to fight against
the Syrian Government, including handling chemical warfare
agents, prove once again that not all of those involved are
interested in a successful outcome for Syria’s chemical
disarmament. Resolution 2118 places responsibility for ensuring
the safety and full implementation of the OPCW and UN Security
Council decisions not only on the Syrian Government, but on the
Syrian opposition, as well as other players, including
As Mr Ban Ki-moon rightly stated in his proposal to the UNSC, the only way to bring peace back to this country and to its people is through an inclusive Syrian-led political process. The very same UNSC resolution provides for convening an international conference in order to give the Syrians an opportunity to agree on how to fully implement the provisions of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012. The apparent logic is that the clear and timely destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons create conditions for the launch of Geneva-2.
Meanwhile, it is critical, as Russia believes, to set a date for convening the conference as soon as possible, since delay plays into the hands of radicals and terrorist groups, which are increasingly gaining ground among those fighting against the Syrian Government. Threats associated with the strengthening of the positions of the extremists, with many foreigners among them, are clear. For one, they are not interested in any political settlement.
The chief obstacle now is the failure of the Syrian opposition to
say “yes” to the conference and negotiate with the Syrian
Government. Russia has long warned that there would be a lot of
hurdles on the road to Geneva-2, citing those opposed to any
political process who are trying to create any excuse to provoke
outside military intervention for a regime change. And yet we
expect that the countries who have an influence over various
opposition groups are aware of their responsibility for doing
their part in getting Geneva-2 started.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.