Assad says chemical handover not result of U.S. threat: Interfax

MOSCOW Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:25am EDT

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling al-Baath party, in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA July 8, 2013. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling al-Baath party, in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA July 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/SANA/Handout via Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Syria decided to cede control of its chemical weapons because of a Russian proposal and not the threat of U.S. military intervention, Interfax news agency quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying in a Russian television interview.

"Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The U.S. threats did not influence the decision," Interfax quoted Assad as telling Russia's state-run Rossiya-24 channel

Assad also told Rossiya-24 that Syria would submit documents to the United Nations for an agreement governing the handover of its chemical arsenal, state-run Russian news agency RIA reported on Thursday.

Rossiya-24 did not immediately air the interview and it was not clear when it was recorded.

The reports came hours before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry were due to meet in Geneva to discuss the proposal, which Lavrov announced on Monday, and Moscow's plan for implementing it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the initiative will not succeed unless Washington abandons plans for potential air strikes to punish Assad for an August 21 poison gas attack which U.S. President Barack Obama blames on Syrian government forces.

Syria, which denies it was behind that attack, has agreed to Moscow's proposal that it give up its chemical weapons stocks, averting what would have been the first direct Western intervention in a war that has killed more than 100,000 people.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove, Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Prox wrote:
America’s threat may not have influenced his decision but I think it influenced Russia to make an offer. Putin is using this to degrade the U.S. on internal interventions. This is the same Russia that invaded and conquered most of the “stan” countries and invaded Afghanistan for no other reason than domination. During the time Russians were testing their domino theory Europe and the U.S. were granting independence. Russia has not changed and Putin is the worst president they ever had. I am not an Obama fan, but at least he won the election instead of stealing it.

Sep 12, 2013 9:33am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JakeSnow wrote:
Right…..Syria is giving up weapons capabilities (that they’ve exercised, no less) in a time of war out of the goodness of their hearts.

Sep 12, 2013 10:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.