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Exclusive: al-Assad says Syria will facilitate work of UN inspectors

09-23-2013 10:13 BJT Special Report: Crisis in Syria |

In an exclusive interview to CCTV correspondent Wang Weiwei, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has confirmed that Syria plans to honor its commitment to the chemical weapons disarmament deal.

But he warned that rebels could throw a spanner in the works when UN weapons inspectors arrive to oversee the destruction of the weapons. Al-Assad gave more details in the exclusive interview.

Reporter: "According to the US-Russia's agreement, after the list is handed in to the OPCW, UN inspectors will enter Syria again this November. And all weapons should be removed from Syria or destroyed by mid-2014. Is the Syrian government able to meet the timeline?"

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, "For the Syrian government, right now we need to ensure two things: one is to submit necessary information and data to the OPCW. This has been done days ago. It has been completed last week and the information is credible. Second is to facilitate the work of the UN inspectors who will visit the production and restoration sites of the chemical weapons in the coming month. There is no question to that. Now the only obstacle is the security conditions in some areas, which will make it difficult for the inspectors to enter. We know that those terrorist militants in these areas take orders from some countries, who may instigate them to block the visit of the inspector. And they may even shift the blame on to the government."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Reporter: "As you mentioned, the current situation on ground may be an issue to be considered. Do you think the situation now would delay the progress of the elimination of the chemical weapons?"

CCTV correspondent Wang Weiwei.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, "I don’t think there is any problem with that. But, like I said, if the terrorist militants take the orders, block the way of the inspector and shift the blame to the government. The situation will be different. You know, they are not fixed, they are able to move from one place to another. Anyway, this is only a possibility. We would be able to look at this when the UN inspectors start to come here."

Reporter: "How many chemical weapons does Syria really have? Some say that there are 1,000 tons. Is it true?"

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, "Syria produced chemical weapons decades ago. The number is not small. We are a country at war. Some of the territory has been occupied for more than 40 years. However, the Syrian Army mainly fights with conventional weapons."

Reporter: "Then how can the Syrian government prevent the weapons from falling into rebel hands before they are destroyed?"

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, "Any country or army which possesses chemical weapons, generally has special protection measures to stop the weapons from falling into terrorist or enemy hands. We are not worried about this problem. Our chemical weapons are stored at safe places that are perfectly controlled by Syrian army."

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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