Interfax: Russia about to decide on degree of its financial contribution to Syria’s chemical disarmament – diplomat

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MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – Russia will make a decision on the degree of its financial contribution to the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons in the near future, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“The Russian material contribution was considered during these consultations. We don’t yet have a reason to publicly announce its parameters, but we are about to make a relevant decision,” Ryabkov told Interfax following consultations with Sigrid Kaag, the head of the joint OPCW-UN mission for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Zinovy Pak, a former Russian defense industry minister and former general director of the Russian Munitions Agency, which was responsible for launching the chemical disarmament process in Russia, told Interfax-AVN that the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons could cost several hundreds of millions of dollars.

“If Syria truly possesses about one thousand tonnes of warfare agents, their destruction, I mean primarily their neutralization as warfare agents, will cost $300 million-$400 million. Not more. But it’s on the condition that there are no kickbacks, which would double or even triple this figure. Also on the condition that there are no terrorist attacks and that those responsible for chemical disarmament are not persecuted,” Pak said.

The Syrian authorities cannot accomplish the task on their own, Pak said. “The destruction of chemical weapons is a relatively high technology. And nobody can guarantee security to foreign guests. It can be presumed already now that the process is going to be long and very difficult,” he said.

Asked about sources from which the Syrian chemical weapons program will be financed, Pak said the principal burden should rest with the countries that welcome Syria’s chemical disarmament and want this to be done as soon as possible.