Syria agrees to Russia’s weapons disclosure plan
Syria on Tuesday agreed with the Russian proposal to place its chemical weapons stocks under international control to 'uproot US aggression', hours...
- Obama to put on hold attacks if Syria submits its weapons
- France to place a resolution at the UN Security Council
- Syrian National Coalition opposes the move
Moscow/Washington (PTI): Syria on Tuesday agreed with the Russian proposal to place its chemical weapons stocks under international control to "uproot US aggression", hours after President Barack Obama said he would "absolutely" put on hold any military strike on the country if it does so.
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his country quickly "agreed to the Russian initiative". He said Syria did so to "uproot US aggression." "Yesterday, we had a round of very fruitful negotiations with (Russian Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov and he came forward with an initiative on chemical weapons," Muallem said after a meeting with Russian parliament (Duma) speaker Sergei Naryshkin in Moscow.
Moallem welcomed Russia's initiative. "I carefully listened to (Russian foreign minister) Sergei Lavrov's statement about it. In connection with this, I note that Syria welcomes the Russian initiative based on the Syrian leadership's concern about the lives of our nationals and the security of our country," Muallem had said.The proposal put forward by Russia - a key ally of Syria - is a dramatic shift after America was gearing up for weeks to launch attacks against the embattled regime.
Meanwhile in separate interviews with six US news channels, Obama said, "If Syrian President gives up his chemical weapons, a military strike would absolutely be on pause." He also called the Russian proposal a "potentially significant breakthrough." Obama, unsure of getting enough Congressional support on Syria, said he would take a final decision after talking to American people directly. According a media report, Obama could fall short of 50 votes needed to get Senate authorisation for a military strike against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people.
The US had alleged that sarin - a deadly nerve agent - was used by the Assad regime near Damascus on August 21 that left at least 1,429 civilians, including over 400 children, dead. The Syrian government denied the charge, saying rebels had used the deadly gas to defame it. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Tuesday said France would place forward a resolution in the UN Security Council to press Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons.
The proposal would also condemn the chemical weapons attack in Damascus, he said.In Cairo, the Arab League head Nabil Elaraby expressed the group's backing for the Russian proposal, saying the League has been always in favour of a "political resolution."
But the Russian initiative failed to bring cheers among Syrian rebels, who dismissed it as a manoeuvre to escape punishment. Meanwhile, the main opposition bloc - Syrian National Coalition - said the proposal "aims to procrastinate and will lead to more death and destruction of the Syrian people."
"A violation of international law should lead to an international retaliation that is proportional in size," it said in a statement. "Crimes against humanity cannot be dropped by giving political concessions or by handing over the weapons used in these crimes."
20 Jan 2020 2:03 PM GMT
20 Jan 2020 1:46 PM GMT