Russian President Vladimir Putin in his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, September 10, 2013© RIA Novosti. Mikhail Klimentiev
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NOVO-OGARYOVO, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s initiative to place Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles under international control will only be feasible if the United States and its allies pledge not to use force, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
It is difficult to obligate any country, including Syria, to unilaterally disarm if force is going to be used against it, Putin said, adding that the Russian authorities “will work together with the Syrians and with our American partners.”
“To reiterate, I hope that this will be a good step toward a peaceful resolution of the crisis,” Putin said.
Moscow hopes that Syria will accept international control over its chemical weapon stockpiles and will also join the convention forbidding the use of chemical weapons, Putin said.
Russia will soon put forward a “workable” plan for placing Syrian chemical weapons under international control, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Tuesday, following up on a day-old Russian proposal that has shifted the international debate on military intervention in the war-torn country.
Washington is currently contemplating a strike on Syria as retaliation for a deadly August 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb, which it has attributed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Official Damascus has blamed the attack on rebel forces, and Russia has tentatively backed its long-time ally, while calling for further investigation.
This story has been updated, modifying the headline and changing Lavrov's description of Russia's impending plan to "workable" rather than "feasible" to match an earlier translation.
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