A new hope arises in the situation over Syria. After USA Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that the Syrian government still has a chance to avoid a military strike by putting chemical weapons under international control, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov supported his call promising all help in convincing the Syrian side to give up their chemical arsenal.
In an interview given to the RT information agency, Sergey Lavrov confirmed that Russia is strongly pushing on Syrian authorities to put all its chemical weapons arsenal under international control in order to prevent a possible military strike. He also suggested that Syrian chemical weapons should then be destroyed, and Syria itself should join the Chemical Weapons Convention which Syria did not sign. This Convention prohibits development, production, stockpiling and transfer of any chemical weapons, and also calls for destruction of existing ones.
Russian Foreign Minister met with the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem in Moskow today and passed him an offer to handle chemical weapons to the international community to avoid any military actions taken against the regime.
The first reaction from Syrian government “welcomes” this proposal. Syrian Foreign Minister assured Sergey Lavrov that Syria won’t oppose the Russian initiative to turn all chemical weapons under international control, according to Russian Interfax agency.
At the same meeting Walid al-Moallem, on behalf of Bashar al-Assad, thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his strong support.
So far, Russia insists that chemical weapons were used not by the government of Bashar al-Assad, but as an opposition -meaning to provoke the USA military’s involvement into a conflict. Russia also clearly states that any military strike on Syria would be evaluated as an act of aggression. Besides supplying Syrian government with arms, Russia already sent few warships to the Syrian coast of Mediterranean.
The Russian decision to support the USA’s call for turning all Syrian chemical weapons under international control might be the first sign of a compromise and brings hope to resume diplomatic talks over the chemical disarming of the Syrian regime. Unless it is a political game in order to buy more time to the Syrian government – Russia’s ally so far.
By Alsu Salakhutdinov