Putin: Syria chem arms handover will work only if US calls off strike
Published time: September 10, 2013 17:00
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Syria’s chemical arms handover will only work if the US and its allies renounce the use of force against Damascus.
“Certainly, this is all reasonable, it will function and will work out, only if the US and those who support it on this issue pledge to renounce the use of force, because it is difficult to make any country – Syria or any other country in the world – to unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration,” President Putin said on Tuesday.
Putin said the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons had been extensively discussed by experts and politicians.
The Russian president said that he and President Barack Obama had “indeed discussed” such a possibility on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg last week.
It was agreed, Putin said, “to instruct Secretary of State [John Kerry] and Foreign Minister [Sergey Lavrov] to get in touch” and “try to move this idea forward.”
President Putin’s comments came shortly after the Syrian government said it would agree to place its chemical weapons arsenal under international control.
Despite voicing “some serious skepticism,” Western countries supported the move, stressing the importance of Assad fulfilling the agreement and surrendering the weapons stockpiles.
Britain said it would like Russia and Syria to show that the proposal to President Bashar Assad is “serious and genuine.”
In Washington, the White House echoed the UK statement, saying it wanted to verify that Syria was serious in its intentions.