Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday received Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov, who urged Damascus to comply with a Russian-U.S. plan to eliminate the Arab nation's stock of chemical weapons.
"Sergey Ryabkov met Wednesday with Bashar al-Assad," Timur Pechatkin, spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Syria, told the official RIA-Novosti news agency.
Ryabkov, who held talks Tuesday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, said Wednesday that Syrian authorities had provided him with evidence the rebels were behind a Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus.
U.N. inspectors concluded that chemical weapons were used in Syria "on a relatively large scale," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here Monday.
The U.N. team's brief did not include determining who used the chemical weapons.
The Syrian opposition and the U.S., French and British governments point the finger at Assad's government, which denies responsibility and says the attack in the Damascus suburbs was the work of rebel forces.
"We explained to the Syrians details of the agreements reached by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. (counterpart) John Kerry in Geneva, and we responded to some questions they asked," Ryabkov told Interfax.
The United States had threatened to carry out a "limited" retaliatory strike on Syria, but Saturday's deal calling for Assad to place his chemical arsenal under international control may have averted military action against government forces.
Syria's civil war has claimed some 100,000 lives since March 2011. EFE