September 16, 2013 / 4:43 PM / 6 years ago

France can reach deal with Russia on Syria U.N. resolution

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s foreign minister said on Monday it was confident that a deal could be reached with Russia on a U.N. resolution over Syria’s chemical weapons programme.

Laurent Fabius told RTL radio that the U.N. inspectors report regarding an August 21 chemical attack that was published on Monday showed there was “no doubt” the Syrian government was behind it.

The U.N. report confirmed that surface-to-surface missiles carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin had been used, 21, but as expected did not specify who carried out the attack.

“When we look precisely at the data, the quantities of toxic gases used, the complexities of the mixes, the nature and the trajectory of the launchers that leaves no doubt on the origin of the attack,” Fabius said, adding that it was damning for the Syrian government.

Fabius earlier on Monday had called with his British and United States counterparts for a swift U.N. resolution committing Syria to remove its chemical weapons and forseeing strong consequences if President Bashar al-Assad failed to comply.

Russia introduced a note of caution, saying that calls for a swift U.N. resolution threatening potential punishment for Syria under Chapter VII showed a “lack of understanding” of the deal.

Fabius, who will travel to Moscow on Tuesday to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said he would go there to find a solution, but felt the Russians would not veto a resolution.

“Syria will accept a series of commitments. If these commitments are not concretely kept to and there is no punishment then words go into thin air,” Fabius said.

“So we can talk about the phrasing, but it’s clear that if the Syrians violate the commitments they have agreed to, then there will be penalties.”

Reporting By John Irish; editing by Mark Johnand Ralph Boulton

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