WASHINGTON (CNN) – Syria on Monday embraced a Russian proposal for Bashar al-Assad to put his nation’s chemical weapons under international control as part of an effort to head off a possible military strike by the United States over an alleged poison gas attack.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Moscow on Monday that his nation “welcomes” a statement from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said his country would urge Syria to take that step if it would avert a U.S. military response.
“During our talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning, he launched an initiative related to chemical weapons. I listened carefully to his statement this evening in regards to that. I declare that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes Russia’s initiative, on the basis that the Syrian leadership cares about the lives of our citizens and the security in our country. We are also confident in the wisdom of the Russian government, which is trying to prevent an American aggression against our people,” Moallem said.
The comments came as Secretary of State John Kerry also seemed to endorse a similar scenario.
Assad “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week,” Kerry said during a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. “But he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done obviously.”
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