Peres: We will prevent WMD threat from Syria (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS 07/24/12)
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Israel will act to ensure that Syria´s chemical weapons are not a
danger to the Jewish state, President Shimon Peres told CNN on Monday.
"The use of chemical weapons is internationally forbidden," he
said. "What do you do when someone violates the law? You fight
against them. You stop them."
Syria said on Monday it could use chemical weapons in response to
any "external aggression" but they would not be used in Syrian
President Bashar Assad´s campaign to crush a 16-month-old uprising
against his rule.
"The Syrians must be aware that what they do is against international
law and endangering, here, our lives, so we shall not remain
indifferent and tell them ´do what you want,´" Peres said.
Asked when Israel would act, Peres obfuscated, saying, "I think
Israel is quite experienced in discovering dangers ahead of time, and
our eyes are sharp and alert and I´m sure that we shall know ahead of
On the topic of Syrian refugees, Peres replied with a blunt "no" when
asked if Israel would help Syrians seeking refuge in Israel. "If they
want to escape, they first of all have to appeal, ask for permission.
None of them did it, I don´t anticipate that any of them will do it,"
the president said.
On Saturday, Amnesty International sent Defense Minister Ehud Barak a
letter urging Israel to take "necessary steps" to ensure anyone
fleeing Syria be allowed to benefit from effective and systematic
Earlier Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague termed
Syria´s threat to use chemical weapons against foreign
"This is typical of the complete illusion of this regime, that they
are the victims of external aggression," Hague told reporters at a
European Union foreign ministers´ meeting in Brussels. "What is
actually happening is their own people are rising up against a brutal
police state ... and in any case it is unacceptable to say that they
would use chemical weapons under any circumstances."
Syria´s Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi on Monday said any
chemical or bacterial weapons were securely stored by the armed
"The ministry wants to re-affirm the stance of the Syrian Arab
Republic that any chemical or bacterial weapon will never be used -
and I repeat will never be used - during the crisis in Syria
regardless of the developments," Makdissi said.
"These weapons are stored and secured by Syrian military forces and
under its direct supervision and will never be used unless Syria
faces external aggression."
It appeared to be the first time that Syria acknowledged it might
possess non-conventional weapons. Damascus is not a signatory to the
1992 Chemical Weapons Convention that bans their use, production or
Makdissi raised the possibility that "terrorists groups" might be
supplied with biological weapons by outside powers which "could be
used in one of the villages - God forbid - and then they would accuse
the Syrian forces."
He also said the security situation in Damascus, where Assad´s forces
have been battling rebels for more than a week, was improving and
would return to normal within days.
He condemned calls for Assad to step down at a meeting of Arab
foreign ministers in Qatar over the weekend, calling it a "flagrant
intervention" in Syria´s internal affairs. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 07/24/12)
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