Damascus official says US-Russia deal 'satisfying'
Damascus views as "satisfying" a breakthrough US-Russian deal on chemical arms aimed at reaching a political solution in Syria, a high-ranking official told AFP on Sunday.
"Syria has always believed that a good agreement is a win-win agreement, and this is the case with the Geneva agreement" struck Saturday by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the official said on condition of anonymity.
"The ones who refused the initiative are (US Senators) John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Israel, the Turkish government and Bandar" bin Sultan, who heads the Saudi intelligence services, said the official.
"They are all the same group, really. And from day one, they (have) wanted the destruction of Syria, while Russia, China and the Syrian government want a political solution," he added.
The US senators, Ankara, the Jewish state, Riyadh and Syrian opposition have called for a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's regime after accusing it of using chemical weapons near Damascus last month.
"We are absolutely sincere in accepting the Russian initiative," insisted the official.
He said the chemical deal could put Damascus back on the road to peace if it is coupled with an accord to cut off the supply of weapons to foreign-backed rebels who have been fighting the regime since March 2011.
"In parallel with question of chemical arms, the whole world must work together to halt the influx of arms and mercenaries to Syria," he said.
On Saturday, Kerry and Lavrov announced a deal that would see Damascus' chemical stockpile handed to international supervision and destroyed by mid-2014.
"We are happy with our partnership with Russia," the official said, referring to Damascus's key backer.
© 2013 AFP