No peace in Syria just with chemical agreement: Turkish FM
DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZA solution to the Syrian crisis just “just based on handing over chemical weapons” will not bring peace to the war-torn country, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has confirmed that Syria planned to relinquish its chemical arms, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the global community to take him seriously.
A solution merely to surrender such weapons stocks will not bring peace to Syria, “if it meant to the Syrian regime that ‘sanctions will never be imposed on you no matter how many people you kill unless you use chemical weapons,’” the minister said.
“Steps which will be taken to stop the regime’s attacks and crimes will bring peace,” Davutoğlu told reporters Sept. 13 at a press conference with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Santos Lopez.
The minister accused the international community and the U.N. Security Council of not taking early enough steps to prevent the deaths of thousands of people in Syria’s civil war. “Turkey is not calling for war, but is calling on the international community to stop the war,” he said.
His comments came after Washington said military action was not the best option to prevent Syria’s government from deploying chemical weapons.
“The first is that the best thing for regional security long-term is not just to take military action to deter [President Bashar] al-Assad from using these weapons, but actually to destroy them, which is what would be the best for regional security so they can’t actually be used in the future,” White House Deputy spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.
Noting that the U.S. government was in constant contact with Turkish officials over the situation, Harf said that despite the unfavorable opinion on the military action option, it still “remains on the table.”
The deputy spokesperson was also asked about Davutoğlu’s “cosmetic move” remark regarding the chemical weapons deal offered to al-Assad, with Harf saying she had no “characterization” on Ankara’s reaction.
The foreign minister also dismissed news reports that Turkey had assisted the Syrian opposition in acquiring chemical weapons. “These are intentional reports… Using chemical weapons is a crime against humanity. Whoever has got the weapons and uses them is committing a crime against humanity and will face the strongest international sanctions,” the top diplomat said.
Turkey does not allow the procurement of any chemical weapons and cannot tolerate the supply of chemical arms, said the minister.
Citing some news reports in Russia claiming that chemical weapons components had been delivered into Syria through Turkey, Davutoğlu said he told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that Ankara would like to see if Russian officials, who were cited in the reports, had such information about the claims.
“We don’t want to hear anything like this from a Russian official. If you have anything in your hand, you should produce them. It’s not appropriate to talk over such suspicions,” Davutoğlu told Lavrov, according to the minister.