Moscow, May 15 (IANS): Stating that the Syrian presidential elections could be a step toward settling its long-running crisis, Russia Thursday called for timely removal of chemical weapons.
"The upcoming elections should mark an important step in preserving and developing Syria's statehood, accommodating the legitimate aspirations of the citizens," Xinhua quoted Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich as telling reporters.
He said the elections slated for June 3 could also help bring an ealier peaceful solution to the crisis, adding the poll should be democratic and transparent, regardless of the difficult situation in the country.
Delegates representing the Russian parliament, he added, might go to Syria to monitor the presidential elections.
Russia also hoped the removal of chemical weapons from Syria would be completed within the timeframe set by the UN Security Council and the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), he said.
"We expect the removal (of war chemicals) will be completed immediately as the security situation permits," he said.
The official said over 92 percent of Syria's chemical weapons components had been removed, adding there was "one but quite a complicated step" needed to complete the removal.