09/19/2013, 00.00
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Assad reiterates his innocence. A year and a billion dollars to destroy chemical weapons

Syria has handed over more "evidence" on the use of gas by the rebels to Russia. Russian diplomacy judges the UN report "biased". According to the UN, the trajectories of missiles with lethal weapons come from an area under army control, but the target area is in the hands of the rebels and was manipulated.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Syrian President Bashar Assad has once again repeated that his troops are not responsible for the chemical attack on Ghouta on August 21. In an interview with the TV channel Fox News , he also reiterated his readiness to cooperate with the UN for the delivery and the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal, but pointed out that at least one year and a billion dollars will be needed to achieve this ends. Assad also pointed out that the destruction of weapons is a dangerous process for the environment.

Last week the United States and Russia reached an agreement on Damascus' surrender and destruction of its chemical weapons. The agreement allows one week for the delivery of data on the amount and the whereabouts of the arsenals, the supervision of UN inspectors and the destruction of weapons by mid- 2014.

Assad did not mention the US-Russia agreement, which has helped avert a military strike , but referred to the Chemical Weapons Convention , signed by Syria only a week ago, after decades of denial.

"Every time we adhere to an agreement - he said - we remain committed to those agreements ."

In the interview, the Syrian president said once again that his army has not launched chemical weapons on Ghouta , which put at risk the lives of thousands of civilians, but also of his troops.

Three days ago the UN report on the attack in Ghouta was made public, which confirms that sarin gas was used. The report does not say who was responsible for the attack. But the United States, Britain, France and the Syrian opposition point the finger at Assad 's army .

Yesterday, the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Rabkov, during a visit to Damascus, said that "the report was distorted , biased, and the basic information on which it is built is insufficient". Yesterday Syria has handed some "evidence" over to Russia to support the view that the rebels were using sarin gas .

The UN spokesman , Martin Nesirky defended the report and the trust Ban Ki -moon has in the team of experts that it drew up . "The mission confirmed unequivocally and objectively that chemical weapons have been used in Syria ... It detailed the types and trajectories of the rockets used to deliver their lethal payload that led to the deaths of so many civilians."

In the report it is noted that some missiles - at least two out of five - were launched from an area in the north - west of Damascus, where the Syrian army bases are. This consideration strengthens the accusations against Assad. But the report also observes that the inspected sites "were visited by other people long before the arrival of the mission ." It adds that "during the period spent in these places, different individuals arrived bringing more suspicious material. Which indicates that potential evidence may have been removed and possibly tampered with". The area they are talking about is under the control of the rebels. The report does not explain who the individuals of whom they speak are.



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