Delhi welcomes US-Russia pact on Syrian chemical arms - The New Indian Express

Delhi welcomes US-Russia pact on Syrian chemical arms

Published: 17th September 2013 09:21 AM

Last Updated: 17th September 2013 09:21 AM

India on Monday welcomed the agreement reached by United States and Russia for eliminating Syrian chemical weapons, which effectively puts on hold plans for American military strike against the Bashar Al-Assad regime.

Meanwhile, the UN report released on Monday said that there was ‘convincing evidence’ that rockets containing nerve-agent sarin was used last month in the Syrian conflict.

In the first official response, India has welcomed the US-Russia ‘framework agreement’ reached last Saturday, as well as Damascus’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention which it termed ‘an important step in the process’.

“This is in alignment with India’s consistent stance of supporting the complete destruction and elimination of chemical weapons worldwide,” said MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

He said that these developments were also seen as “reinvigoration” of peace efforts towards a political solution. “We are hopeful that this will lead to the early convening of the proposed ‘International Conference on Syria’ (Geneva-II), which will bring all parties to the conflict to the negotiating table,” he added. The MEA spokesperson pointed out that India has consistently called for a political solution and asserted that there could not be a military solution that could not be reached. “Any external military intervention in Syria’s affairs should be excluded,” he asserted.

There has been some fast-paced diplomatic developments in the last one week, which led to US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to reach a pact in Geneva, that will effectively put off any plans to strike against Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons against a rebel stronghold in Ghouta.

The US-Russian plan is certainly ambitious, as it calls for eliminating all of Syria’s chemical weapons by 2014. At the same time, the US stressed that military intervention was not off the table and would depend on Syria following through the plan assiduously.

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