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      Syrian Minister: We Take This Agreement Very Seriously

      Syria's information minister says his country "does not waste time" and is already implementing the Russia-U.S. deal.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 9/16/2013, 3:15 AM

      Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
      Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
      AFP photo

      Syria’s information minister, Omran al-Zoubi, said on Sunday his country will "comply" with a United Nations Security Council resolution on its chemical weapons.

      Speaking to ITV News, Zoubi said that Syria has accepted the Russian proposal that will see it giving up its chemical weapons by 2014.

      “We are joining the Chemical Weapons Convention,” he said, adding, “We take this agreement very seriously. The Russian proposal will turn into something more concrete, into a fact when it goes to the UN.”

      Asked if Syria will provide a full list of its chemical weapons within seven days, as per the deal, Zoubi answered, “Syria will do what it says. Syria will accept whatever comes from the UN Security Council on this deal. Syria has accepted the Russian proposal and is joining the Chemical Weapons Convention. The rest is only detail, procedural detail and not very important.”

      “We are already documenting our papers and we have started to do our job. We don't waste time,” he stressed, adding, “I can assure you that on a political level the Syrian decision (to get rid of chemical weapons) will be honored and Syria will commit to it. This is a final decision. The best thing about this deal is that we are avoiding a war that could have threatened the whole Middle East.”

      Referring to the U.S. threat that if Syria does not comply with the deal, it could be attacked, Zoubi said, “Their threat is against the whole region. Syria hasn't been guilty of any aggression against the United States. Their words carry a smell of aggression.”

      United States President Barack Obama declared in a weekend interview that his country is still prepared to act militarily to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, despite the decision to hold back on striking Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

      On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Syria that it was not off the hook following the deal to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile.

      "The threat of force remains, the threat is real," Kerry said at a news conference after meeting Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and added, "Make no mistake, we have taken no options off the table.”