President al-Assad: “Syria will facilitate work of UN inspectors”
In an exclusive interview to CCTV correspondent Wang Weiwei, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has confirmed that Syria plans to honor its commitment to the chemical weapons disarmament deal.
But he warned that rebels could throw a spanner in the works when UN weapons inspectors arrive to oversee the destruction of the weapons. Al-Assad gave more details in the exclusive interview.
Reporter: “According to the US-Russia’s agreement, after the list is handed in to the OPCW, UN inspectors will enter Syria again this November. And all weapons should be removed from Syria or destroyed by mid-2014. Is the Syrian government able to meet the timeline?”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, “For the Syrian government, right now we need to ensure two things: one is to submit necessary information and data to the OPCW. This has been done days ago. It has been completed last week and the information is credible. Second is to facilitate the work of the UN inspectors who will visit the production and restoration sites of the chemical weapons in the coming month. There is no question to that. Now the only obstacle is the security conditions in some areas, which will make it difficult for the inspectors to enter. We know that those terrorist militants in these areas take orders from some countries, who may instigate them to block the visit of the inspector. And they may even shift the blame on to the government.”
Reporter: “As you mentioned, the current situation on ground may be an issue to be considered. Do you think the situation now would delay the progress of the elimination of the chemical weapons?”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, “I don’t think there is any problem with that. But, like I said, if the terrorist militants take the orders, block the way of the inspector and shift the blame to the government. The situation will be different. You know, they are not fixed, they are able to move from one place to another. Anyway, this is only a possibility. We would be able to look at this when the UN inspectors start to come here.”
Reporter: “How many chemical weapons does Syria really have? Some say that there are 1,000 tons. Is it true?”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, “Syria produced chemical weapons decades ago. The number is not small. We are a country at war. Some of the territory has been occupied for more than 40 years. However, the Syrian Army mainly fights with conventional weapons.”
Reporter: “Then how can the Syrian government prevent the weapons from falling into rebel hands before they are destroyed?”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, “Any country or army which possesses chemical weapons, generally has special protection measures to stop the weapons from falling into terrorist or enemy hands. We are not worried about this problem. Our chemical weapons are stored at safe places that are perfectly controlled by Syrian army”.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was not concerned about a draft resolution to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control, adding that China and Russia would “ensure any excuse for military action against Syria will not stand.”Assad
In an interview with China’s state television CCTV in Damascus, Assad said: “We know that these terrorists are obeying the orders of other countries and these countries do drive these terrorists to commit acts that could get the Syrian government blamed for hindering this agreement,” he explained.
An article posted on the CCTV website on Monday quoted Assad as saying, “I am not concerned. Since its independence, Syria has been committed to all the treaties it has signed. We will honor everything that we have agreed to do.
“And more importantly, I want to say, by submitting the draft to the U.N. Security Council, or by urging the U.S. and Russia to agree on a deal, the U.S., France, and Britain are just trying to make themselves winners in a war against a Syria which is their imaginary enemy.”
The Syrian president warned that armed opposition in Syria may be ordered by its foreign sponsors to stage a false flag operation against foreign inspectors when they arrive in the country to monitor destruction of the country’s chemical weapons stockpile. “We know that these terrorists are obeying the orders of other countries and these countries do drive these terrorists to commit acts that could get the Syrian government blamed for hindering this agreement.”
Asked whether Syria had lots of chemical weapons, Assad said: “Syria has been manufacturing chemical weapons for decades so it’s normal for there to be large quantities in the country.”We are a nation at war, we’ve got territories that have been occupied for more than 40 years, but in any case, the Syrian army is trained to fight using conventional weapons.”
Assad said the weapons are safe from being captured by any party. He said the chemical weapons were stored “under special conditions to prevent any terrorist for other destructive forces from tampering with them, that is, destructive forces that could come from other countries.”
“So there is nothing to worry about. The chemical weapons in Syria are in a safe place that is secure and under the control of the Syrian army.”
This page at Syrianetwork.org