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Russia's Lavrov Says Syria's Chemical Weapons Secure 'For Now'


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Syria's chemical weapons are safe and under government control "for the time being."

Lavrov made the comments late on December 21 on his plane while returning from an EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

Lavrov said that "neither side is going to win" the war in Syria, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would not step down even if pressured to do so by Moscow and Beijing.

He said that Moscow has rejected pleas from several unspecified countries to offer Assad asylum if he leaves Syria.

Lavrov said Moscow has no intention of offering refuge to Assad if he steps down. He said, however, that Russia would welcome any other country's offer of a safe haven to Assad.

But he warned that the overthrow of Assad would not stop the violence in Syria.

The foreign minister also told reporters that the "Western sponsors" of the Syrian opposition are losing control over it.

Lavrov anounced that UN-Arab League envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi will likely visit Moscow for talks before the end of this year.

Based on reporting by AP, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and Reuters