Syrian minister calls chemical weapons deal a Russian-won 'victory' over U.S.

MOSCOW Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:09am EDT

1 of 3. Free Syrian Army fighters walk on a damaged street in Deir al-Zor September 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamad Alderi

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Syria's Minister for National Reconciliation said on Sunday that the chemical weapons agreement between Russia and the United States was a "victory" for Damascus, won by its Russian allies, and had taken away the pretext for war.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Saturday in Geneva on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to account for his chemical weapons within a week. The deal may avert U.S. military strikes.

"This agreement, an achievement of Russian diplomats and the Russian leadership, is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends," Ali Haidar told Russian news agency RIA.

"We welcome this agreement. From one point of view, it will help Syrians exit the crisis, from another, it has prevented a war against Syria, having taken away the pretext for one from those who wanted to unleash (it)," he said.

It was not clear if the comments by Ali Haidar, who is not in President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle of decision-makers, reflects the president's views.

Russia has been Assad's staunchest international ally, protecting him from three consecutive U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at pressuring him to end a two-and-a-half-year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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Comments (15)
The_Traveler wrote:
“Russia has been Assad’s staunchest international ally, protecting him from three consecutive U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at pressuring him to end a two-and-a-half-year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.”

And displaced millions more.

Yeah, quite a victory for Russian diplomats …

Sep 15, 2013 10:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
worldscan wrote:
Calling it a “victory” is laughable because there was no battle. “Narrow escape” is more more like it. That said, it may not be an exaggeration to say that it was a major psychological win for Al-Assad against his regional foes which, if played right, might give him an ultimate crushing of the rebellion.

Sep 15, 2013 10:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
whuppsadaisy wrote:
But this is only from one point of view.

Sep 15, 2013 10:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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