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Russia Says UN Syria Resolution Could Allow For Force, Sanctions

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov voiced hope that the Security Council would reach agreement on a resolution this week.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says a UN Security Council resolution on Syria could "mention" Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows for the use of force or the imposition of tough sanctions.

But Ryabkov said the measure could only be invoked if an accord on chemical weapons was violated.

And he spoke against the automatic introduction of the threat of force in any Security Council resolution.

"The Syrian side has clearly demonstrated its goodwill," he said in the State Duma in Moscow on September 24.

"Considering this, it seems completely illogical that the Americans -- vigorously supported by the British and French -- are trying to push the UN Security Council toward adopting a resolution that would contain a direct threat against Syria."

Ryabkov voiced hope that the Security Council would reach agreement on a resolution this week.

The mention of Chapter VII in any UN resolution has been a point of disagreement between the United States and Russia ever since Washington and Moscow forged a landmark agreement in Geneva earlier this month to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

Ryabkov told the Duma that disagreements with the Americans persist and that negotiations "are not going so smoothly."

He said U.S. officials "always mention that plans to punish Damascus remain in force."

Ryabkov also said that UN experts would return to Damascus on September 25 to continue an investigation into the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.

The team will look into alleged chemical attacks prior to one on August 21 near Damascus, which the United States says killed more than 1,400 people.

Russia has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest backer during the civil war that is estimated to have killed more than 100,000 people since 2011.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, ITAR-TAS, and Interfax
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