DAMASCUS (AFP) – Syria is confident the United Nations will not adopt a resolution on its chemical weapons under Chapter VII, which could allow the use of force, its deputy foreign minister said Wednesday.
"I think this is a big lie used by the Western powers; we believe it will never be used," Faisal Muqdad told AFP.
"There is no justification for that, and the Russian-American agreement does not have such a thing," he added, referring to the deal under which Syria has agreed to turn over its chemical weapons.
The comments come as envoys from the five permanent UN Security Council members struggle to draft a resolution on destroying Syria's chemical weapons.
France, Britain and the United States want compulsory measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if Syria does not uphold the disarmament plan.
But Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is firmly opposed to anything that could pave the way for the use of force.
Syria agreed to turn over its weapons under an international deal thrashed out after the United States threatened military action against Damascus.
The threat followed an August 21 chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus that reportedly killed hundreds of people.
The Syrian opposition and much of the international community blamed the attack on the regime, which in turn said that rebels were responsible.
The attack has been confirmed by UN weapons inspectors, who said in a report presented this week that the poison sarin was used, without attributing responsibility for the attack.
Muqdad said the report contained "nothing new" and that the regime had consistently said opposition forces were using sarin.
"If the report's main object is to say whether sarin gas was used or not, it has nothing new for us, because from the beginning we said sarin gas was used," he told AFP.
"We gave concrete reports, authenticated by our medical persons and our experts on chemicals.
"I can confirm once again that Syria did not, will not use chemical weapons against its people," he added.
He said Syria had decided to give up its chemical weapons to ward off allegations from the West that it was using the arms against its people.
"Now we tell them, take these weapons and do whatever you like to do with them. We don't want them anymore," he said.
"This is a sincere action by the Syrian government to stop such accusations."
Muqdad had harsh words for nations that have backed the uprising against the regime, including France, which he said had "betrayed not only Syria, but... their own people and their own principles."
"The French leadership is supporting the Al-Nusra Front, they are supporting Al-Qaeda, and all the terrorists that are coming to destroy Syria," he said.
The rebels fighting against Assad's regime include Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The regime refers to all those fighting against it as "terrorists."