West can't force itself on us: Syria (Roundup)

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 17, 2013 15:10 hrs

Damascus/Jeddah/Tokyo, Sep 17 (IANS) Syria's foreign ministry Tuesday said that the US and its allies cannot force their will on Syria even as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the US-Russia agreement on checking the use of chemcial weapons in the country.

In a statement carried by the state-run SANA news agency, the foreign ministry said talks about the political and constitutional legitimacy in Syria is an "exclusive" right of the Syrian people, Xinhua reported.

"In a new confirmation about the size of their involvement in the Syrian crisis and their feverish resolve to impose their will and agendas on the Syrian people, the foreign ministers of the US, France and Britain have tried to promote their contradictory stances through trying to reconcile between their support of terrorism and their allegations about supporting the political process in Syria," the ministry said.

A day earlier, Britain, France and the US agreed to seek a "tough" UN resolution against Syria over its use and stockpile of chemical weapons.

During talks in Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague also announced a "major international gathering" next week in New York to seek further support for the Syrian National Coalition, the main Syrian opposition abroad.

"In order to negotiate a political solution, we need a stronger position," Fabius said.

Meanwhile, in Jeddah, Secretary-General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Tuesday welcomed the agreement between the US and Russia over chemical weapons in Syria.

In a press statement issued after the release of the report of the UN inspection team on the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria, Ihsanoglu reiterated his organisation's firm stand in condemning the use of chemical weapons.

He stressed the need to punish any party that has anything to do with the production or transfer, development or use of chemical weapons in Syria.

He stressed that the use of these weapons in Syria Aug 21 should be regarded as a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Ihsanoglu confirmed the need to make the Middle East a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

Japan too Tuesday condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria after a UN report confirmed that sarin gas was used in an attack in August near the capital Damascus.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference in Tokyo that Japan strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Xinhua reported.

He said Japan would closely watch developments at the UN and responses by the Syrian government on the US-Russian agreement on Syria's chemical weapons.

On Sep 14, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced they agreed on a framework toward complete destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.

The accord asks the Syrian government to submit within one week a listing of its chemical weapons stockpiles and to allow access to international inspectors.

Kishida also called for a stop to violence in the country and starting a political dialogue between relevant sides in Syria.

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