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Interview with Lavrov: ‘Either secure Syria's chemical weapons, or arm its rebels’


Russia Today:

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tells RT that Western powers' habit of dividing terrorists between "bad and acceptable" could have lasting consequences for the whole world.

Syria’s chemical arsenal has become a central point of international concern since the country’s civil conflict flared up in March 2011. Syria is reportedly in possession of nerve agents including mustard gas, while NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has already accused the country’s government of deploying the Scud missiles needed to deliver it.

The worst-case scenario, as acknowledged by many governments including the US, would be for the weapons to fall into the hands of Syria’s various opposition groups – some of whom are affiliated with al-Qaeda.

But to date Syria’s chemical arsenal is secure, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT in an exclusive interview.

“Every time we hear rumors, or pieces of information come to the surface that the Syrians are doing something with the chemical weapons, we double-check, we triple-check,” says Lavrov, adding that the latest move concerning the chemical weapons was related to the Syrian government’s intent to gather and consolidate the dispersed arsenal in order to make sure that it is “absolutely” protected.

However, Lavrov says it shows a “strange logic” when the Western powers involved in solving the Syrian crisis pin the full responsibility for the arsenal on the sitting Syrian government – “even if the rebels take hold of it” – and at the same time, continue to encourage the conflict by supplying the rebels with arms and money.

Meanwhile, Western governments have begun distinguishing between “bad terrorists and acceptable terrorists” on the ground in Syria, refusing to condemn acts of terror there, saying the overall context should be taken into account to explain why people choose terror – an “absolutely unacceptable,” route, the FM continues.

No war can last forever, and all wars finish in the same way: parties sit down to talks. This is what will happen in Syria – and it should happen as soon as possible, Lavrov concluded.

But RT had more questions for him. What to make of NATO sending Patriot missile systems to protect Turkey from a spill-over of the Syrian violence? Why did US President Barack Obama sign the Magnitsky Act amid the so-called “relations reset” with Russia? And should the UN Security Council be reformed?

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