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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

MOSCOW (AFP) – Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on Tuesday said Syria has “already agreed” to an initiative by Russia for Damascus to hand over its chemical weapons stocks to international control.

“Yesterday, we had a round of very fruitful negotiations with (Russian Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov and he came forward with an initiative on chemical weapons,” Muallem said in Moscow after meeting the speaker of the Russian lower house of parliament in comments quoted by Russian news agencies translated from Arabic.

“And already (yesterday) in the evening we agreed with the Russian initiative,” saying this would “knock the chair from under the legs of the American aggression”.

Earlier, Lavrov said Moscow was in talks with Damascus to develop a “concrete plan” for the Syrian regime to hand over its chemical weapons arsenal.”

“We (Russia) are currently working on preparing a workable, precise and concrete plan and for this there are literally right now, in these minutes, contacts with the Syrian side,” the minister said at a news conference with his Libyan counterpart.

“And we expect to present this plan soon and we will be ready to work on it with the UN secretary general, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with the participation of members of the UN Security Council,” Lavrov added.

Russia’s proposal to stave off threatened U.S. strikes Syria through a handover of chemical weapons received a cautious welcome Tuesday even from backers of military action, with President Barack Obama describing the idea as a “potential breakthrough”.

Only the opposition fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for control of Syria openly denounced the Russian idea, describing it as a political manoeuvre that will waste time and cause more deaths.

Lavrov had announced the plan on Monday during a hastily called news briefing after talks with Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem.

He said that the plan could avert threatened military strikes by the United States after a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus on August 21 which the West believes was carried out by the regime.

Obama warned Monday he had not taken military strikes off the table but, in agreeing to consider the Russian initiative, he effectively pushed back the timetable for possible action.

“I think what we’re seeing is that a credible threat of a military strike from the United States, supported potentially by a number of other countries around the world, has given them pause and makes them consider whether or not they would make this move,” he told NBC television.

“And if they do, then this could potentially be a significant breakthrough. But we have to be skeptical because this is not how we’ve seen them operate over the last couple of years.”

Obama, who faces a tough task winning Congressional approval for even a limited military action, admitted that U.S. lawmakers were not close to voting on the issue.

“I don’t anticipate that you would see a succession of votes this week or anytime in the immediate future,” he told ABC news.

The Russian plan came in apparent response to remarks Monday by Secretary of State John Kerry who said that to avoid military action, Assad could turn over his chemical weapons to the international community.

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27 responses to “Syria Has ‘Already Agreed’ To Russia Arms Plan”

  1. docb says:

    What is the scope, who verifies, what is the timing? Is it a stall tactic? How can the World be assured that ALL chemical weapons are accounted for and under World control when assad does not even admit to have them?

    This agreement is vague and in the initial stages ..He threatened the World in the Rose interview. We shall see! Meanwhile the congress, as cowardly as they are, must move FORWARD. Keep the pressure on these elected dolts and Assad.

    • Independent1 says:

      Some good questions!! I’m not super comfortable with Assad really following through on what he claims he will do. From what I understand, Syria has an extensive build up of chemical weapons scattered around the country with few that know where they all are (Syria was buying sodium flouride from England for 7 years – sodium flouride is what is used to create sarin gas. And an NBC news report published on 12/512 said that Syria had loaded dozens of fighter-bombers with bombs containing sarin gas. So not only does Syria have stashes on chemical weapons they also have airplanes loaded with chemical laced bombs.)
      So what’s to prevent Assad from “supposedly” turning over all Syria’s chemical weapons, while purposely ignoring some stashes of them. The world certainly doesn’t have the time to wait for the U.N. to be searching the countryside to find them. To me, going with the Russian proposal is a very dicey situation: trusting a despot who has a history of not keeping his word.

      • Sand_Cat says:

        We can hope it will work: small comfort to the 100,000 killed by means that are apparently OK. It certainly seems likely that the threat of an attack brought about this apparent willingness to compromise.
        If h doesn’t give up everything, he won’t be able to use what’s left without facing a UN and NATO more inclined to attack, but the situation in Syria is still awful. I wish we could have faith that bombing would make it better, but I’d be happy of we can get this much without more bloodshed.

        • Independent1 says:

          I’d be happy too if we can get Assad to honetly turn over Syria’s chemical weapons without dragging his feet and many more Syrian’s dying while chemical weapons are being turned over. But I do feel too, that we can’t back off the threat of following through with an attack if Assad fails to comply. Syria has made it clear that they’re only agreeing to give up their chem weapons in order to prevent “American agression”. I’m not sure Syria will follow through on the chem weapon transfer if the “threat of American agression” disappears.

  2. silence dogood says:

    With Russia as controlling entity this will drag out forever with no resolution. Russia however will emerge with more influence in the region. Once again JFK was trying to show every one he is the smartest guy in the room with bungled results.

  3. Independent1 says:

    What most seem to be ignoring is that the only reason Russia suggested that Syria hand over its chemical weapons, and Syria has supposedly agreed to do that, is because of only ONE REASON!!!! Obama has insisted on keeping the gun to Syria’s head by threatening to bomb the place!!!

    Why is it that Congress and a great deal of the America public don’t seem to understand that?? Syria has been brought to the bargaining table for only ONE REASON, as they put it: To prevent the American agression!! Had Obama not insisted on going forward with authorization for an attack on Syria, none of this would be happening!!!

    And what do you suppose might happen if Congress does in fact vote to supposedly prevent giving Obama the authorization of attacking Syria?? Has anyone considered that Assad might just say: Well, since you’ve eliminated the threat of American agression (the threat of you idiots bombing us), why should we give up our chemical weapons to the UN!! Is everybody here sleeping????? Or just clueless!!!!

    • old_blu says:

      Exactly Independent I was wondering the same thing, and some are actually saying that it was Putin’s idea, and that he owns President Obama now because of it. Putin wouldn’t even give two shits if it wasn’t for the president posturing, and threating military intervention.
      Oh and edit: On another note I see where congress is putting “Obamacare” on the table **AGAIN**

      • Independent1 says:

        Old_blu, I’m getting more and more disappointed in the American public. I’m reading reviews now that the President didn’t change many peoples’ mind with his speech last night. Personally, I thought he did a great job of making the case for continuing the threat of attacks on Syria and actually following through if Assad waivers in following through on his promise to pass over Syria’s WMDs. It’s really discouraging, to me at least, to see that so many in our country have apparently become so hard hearted that the only thing they can think about is THEMSELVES.

        How has our country gotten to the point where about 50% of its population is more concerned about themselves than in doing what is right with respect to others? I guess that just gives creadence to a study that I saw a while back stating that fewer and fewer Americans are believing in God – the One who has always pressed in teaching us that we should think more about others (including the poor folks in Syria) than we do of ourselves.

        And on your point about the GOP going on about continuing to try and defund Obamacare. I guess when you have no solutions to offer for any of our country’s problems, you have to go back to the old rut that you’ve been in for the past 4 years – let’s try to vote Obamacare into nonexistence: even though it is already saving millions of Americans money and providing healthcare to millions who didn’t have healthcare before. Giving no thought whatsoever to the hardships that eliminating Obamacare could bring to millions of their own constituents.

        • old_blu says:

          Here’s something a friend of mine told me the other day. She is very smart and a big *wink* to her.

          “I’m not very knowledgeable about foreign affairs, but it’s my understanding this is only the third time in history a country’s leader has used chemical weapons on his own people — first Hitler, then Sadam Hussein and now Assad. We know how those first two got away with it to the tune of over 6 million lost lives — do we sit back, wait and see?”
          I took some of it out and I’ve written it up the way I remember her saying it, but it made sense to me.
          And good morning my friend…

          • Independent1 says:

            It makes sense to me too. As the President said last night – there are human travesties occurring around the world and we can’t afford to be trying to police them all. And I agree with that, we’re not in a position to stop every ruthless dictator that is going to kill some of his or her people. But when a ruthless dictator, chooses to use a method of killing that kills thousands of his people in one fell swoop, I think something needs to be done to stop that. Not only because of the lives of those being killed by that dictator but also because of the precident that it sets for other ruthless dictators. This is what I think Obama a good job of trying to point out last night, and it’s this that I’m having trouble grasping why almost 1/2 of our countrymen can’t seem to see it.

            There are a lot of Americans who have the notion that what’s going on in Syria is a civil war; and as such, since the country is physically a long way away and the war doesn’t affect us, let’s stay out of it. But I don’t see it that way. It IS NOT a civil war. In my mind, what’s going on in Syria is the equivalent of the Mafia in Italy getting a foothold in the Italian government and then systematically trying to murder everyone who is not in aggreement with their Mafia ideas.

            Assad’s family took over governance of Syria and is hellbent on not letting go of that control. It IS NOT one group of Syrians whose beliefs are different than the others which has created this. It is one ruling family that has developed a loyalty who is determined not to release control even if that means killing or driving out of the country more than half of their countrymen.

          • plc97477 says:

            Maybe if someone pointed out to half of the nation how easy it would be to pack a suitcase full of sarin gas into a country maybe they would care a bit more.

          • neeceoooo says:

            After reading “In the Garden of Beasts”, I am at a loss as to how a country as powerful as the United States could take a blind eye to the millions that were killed during the holocaust and even Syria.

          • old_blu says:

            Well hello neeceoo I have not read that book, but I will put it on my list, and what a list I have, I might have to give up my bucket list to get my reading list done. Hahaha
            Edit: You’re right we can’t just turn a blind eye or we may have another 6 million people die while we just watch.
            I really don’t want to bomb anyone, I’m hoping that it can be done diplomatically. (cross your fingers)

        • plc97477 says:

          I think their problem is that it is not saving the right Americans money.

      • Independent1 says:

        I forgot to address your comment about people saying that handing over Syria’s chemical weapons to the UN was Putin’s idea. And to be honest, I wouldn’t doubt that but what does that have to do with anything? It simply comes from people who will do anything they can to take away credit from Obama for doing anything. But even if Putin was the one to suggest it, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the only reason Putin would have come up with that suggestion is because Obama kept insisting that Congress give him the authorization to attack Syria.

        • old_blu says:

          You know it, and I don’t care who wants to take credit/blame for it, it is still a win, if they give up their WMD, although I’m not sure we can believe what they tell us or Putin.

          • Independent1 says:

            I agree completely. Let’s hope Assad does in fact turn over ALL of his WMDs and that somehow there’s an end to the Syrian war.

        • plc97477 says:

          Putin wasn’t the one who suggested it. It was first suggested by Biden.

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