Syria has become a full member of the international treaty prohibiting chemical weapons, the country ' s ambassador to the United Nations says.
" Legally speaking Syria has become, starting today, a full member of the(Chemical Weapons) Convention, " Reuters quoted Bashar al - Jaafari as saying to reporters in New York on Thursday after submitting relevant documents to the United Nations.
Earlier in the day, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian TV that Damascus would send the documents on joining the global anti-chemical weapons treaty in a few days. "In the next couple of days, Syria will send a petition to the United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," Assad said in an interview with Rossiya 24 news channel. "The petition will contain technical documents required to sign the agreement," the Syrian president said, adding that "after that, work will start that will lead to the signing of the convention prohibiting chemical weapons." The United Nations confirmed on Thursday that it has received documents from Syria on joining the Chemical Weapons Convention. "In the past few hours we have received a document from the government of Syria that is being translated, which is to be an accession document concerning the Chemical Weapons Convention," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention requires signatories to declare and destroy all of the chemical weapons they possess. Jaafari made the announcement as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry began a crucial two-day meeting on Moscow’s proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. "The chemical weapons in Syria are a mere deterrence against the Israeli nuclear arsenal," Jaafari noted. "It's a deterrent weapon and now the time has come for the Syrian government to join the (convention) as a gesture to show our willingness to be against all weapons of mass destruction," he said. The Russian government proposed the initiative during a meeting between Lavrov and his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem in Moscow on Monday. On Tuesday, Muallem said Damascus accepted the Russian initiative, agreeing to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the Assad government of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.