Canada, Turkey criticize US-Russia deal on Syria
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Canada, Turkey criticize US-Russia deal on Syria

Countries say Assad playing for time; Turkish FM: World must bring to justice Syrian officials responsible for crimes against humanity

In this photo released by the Turkish Presidency Press Office, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, center, and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, center left, speak during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Photo credit: AP/Ayhan Arfat, Turkish Presidency Press Office)
In this photo released by the Turkish Presidency Press Office, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, center, and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, center left, speak during a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Photo credit: AP/Ayhan Arfat, Turkish Presidency Press Office)

ISTANBUL — Canada’s foreign minister John Baird called Syria’s offer to begin providing information on its chemical arsenal 30 days after it signs an international convention banning such weapons “ridiculous and absurd.”

Baird said Syrian President Bashar Assad could not be given extra time. Baird said: “This is a man who up until a week ago denied that they had any such weapons.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who joined Baird at a news conference Saturday in Istanbul, also expressed skepticism, saying that Assad was playing for time while continuing to commit atrocities.

“Children are left orphan and women become widow as we are holding this press conference,” Davutoglu was quoted by Today’s Zaman as saying.

The comments come as US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were in Geneva negotiating a Russian proposal to inventory, isolate and eventually destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stocks.

Kerry has rejected Syria’s suggestion that it should turn over information, rather than weapons.

Davutoglu said Turkey welcomed the diplomatic initiative to remove Syria’s chemical weapons, but it was still incumbent on the international community to bring to justice the Syrian officials responsible for crimes against humanity.

Western countries blame Assad for the use of chemical weapons, although he denies blames rebels engaged in a two-year-old civil war against his government.

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