Israel cautious over Syria weapons deal

Jerusalem. The Israeli prime minister has said he hoped the US-Russian brokered deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons would result in the “complete destruction” of the arsenal and push the world to stop Iran from nuclear weapons armament.
The US says the Syrian regime killed 1,400 people in a poison-gas attack in eastern Damascus on August 21. Net photo.
The US says the Syrian regime killed 1,400 people in a poison-gas attack in eastern Damascus on August 21. Net photo.

Jerusalem. The Israeli prime minister has said he hoped the US-Russian brokered deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons would result in the “complete destruction” of the arsenal and push the world to stop Iran from nuclear weapons armament.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before a planned meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday, who has arrived in Israel to brief him on the accord he reached with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday in Geneva.

“We hope the understandings reached between the United States and Russia regarding the Syrian chemical weapons will yield results,” he said.

“These understandings will be judged by their result - the complete destruction of all of the chemical weapons stockpiles that the Syrian regime has used against its own people,” he said.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is close to Netanyahu, said the deal had “disadvantages and advantages”.

“On the one hand, it lacks the necessary speed [in removing chemical arms from Syria]. On the other hand, it is much more comprehensive, as it includes a Syrian commitment to dismantle the manufacturing facilities and to never again produce [chemical weapons],” Steinitz told Army Radio.

Also on Army Radio, Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, said intelligence that Israel has gathered on neighbouring Syria could help verify President Bashar al-Assad’s compliance with the accord.

“We will understand Assad’s intentions only in a week when he is meant to hand over a full list of all the chemical weapons at his disposal, and I think Israel has a not bad idea of what chemical weapons he has,” Lieberman said.

Israel’s President Shimon Peres said the possibility of US military action if the plan fails should “teach a lesson” to Iran.

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