Assad dismisses West over draft UN resolution

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A Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/The Syrian Revolution Against Bashar Assad)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denounced the United States, France and Britain for submitting a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control, China\’s state broadcaster said on Monday.
Assad was quoted as saying to state television CCTV in an interview that by submitting the draft, "the US, France, and Britain are just trying to make themselves winners in a war against a Syria which is their imaginary enemy."
Assad also said China and Russia "are playing a positive role in the UN Security Council to ensure any excuse for military action against Syria will not stand."
Syria is believed to possess around 1,000 tonnes of chemical toxins, and has agreed to destroy them under a joint Russian-US proposal designed to avert a US strike on Syria.
Assad said the only challenge is ensuring safe access to those areas, warning that "terrorists" could pose a security threat. He suggested fighters could obstruct the experts in order to get the government blamed for violating its agreement to allow them in.
Syrian officials use the word terrorist to describe rebels who have been trying to oust Assad in the country\’s 18-month conflict.
The president acknowledged Syria has a "large" chemical weapons stockpile built up during decades of manufacturing, but that it is safely under government control.
"Any army stores chemical weapons under special conditions to prevent any terrorist or 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," said Assad.
The Syrian government has accused rebels of using chemical weapons several times, including in a deadly attack last month in the Damascus suburbs.
That attack drew international condemnation, with the United States, France and Britain saying evidence pointed to pro-government forces carrying out the attack.
Syria has publicly agreed to give up all of its chemical weapons by the middle of next year.
Russia, a Syrian ally, has accused the U.S. of trying to "blackmail" it into letting the U.N. Security Council authorize force against Syria if Assad\’s government does not follow through with the plan.
The United States and its allies have been pressing the Council to adopt a Syria resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which would permit enforcement through military action.
Russia has accused the West of trying to exploit a chemical weapons deal with Syria to push through a UN resolution threatening force against President Bashar al-Assad.
Assad\’s government handed over information about its chemical arsenal last week to a UN-backed weapons watchdog, meeting the first deadline of the ambitious US-Russia accord.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday U.S. officials told him that if Russia does not agree to a Chapter 7 resolution, Washington will block the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from helping to remove Syria\’s stockpiles.
Russia and the United States made a deal earlier this month for the Netherlands-based international body to monitor the disposal of all chemical weapons in Syria.
In Syria on Sunday a mortar round hit the compound of the Russian embassy, in the capital, Damascus.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in the attack. The area in central Damascus where the embassy is located has regularly been targeted by rebel forces.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and the UN refugee agency says about one third of Syria\’s pre-war population of 20.8 million have fled their homes, either to other countries or safer areas within Syria.
Source: Agencies

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