Syria “welcomes” the idea of giving up its chemical weapons, according to the country’s foreign minister, Walid Moallem.
The proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons came from Russia as countries seek a diplomatic solution after a reported chemical weapons attack last month.
Moallem met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Monday, reports CNN.
The Syrian Foreign Minister stated after the meeting that Syria “welcomes Russia’s initiative” to avert a US military response to the reported chemical weapons attack. Moallem added that Syria is also “confident in the wisdom of the Russian government” to prevent “American aggression against our people.”
US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf responded to the proposal to remove chemical weapons from Syria. She announced that the US will take a “hard look” at the proposal, but cautioned that the US has “some serious skepticism” about whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will follow through.
The Guardian notes that US Secretary of State John Kerry also announced on Monday that Syria could avoid a US strike by giving up its chemical weapons stockpile. Kerry added that he doesn’t expect Assad to actually follow through.
Kerry made the comments while standing next to the UK foreign secretary William Hague. The US State Department stressed after Syria’s comments that Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the deadline. The department added that Kerry’s “point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago.”
President Barack Obama also appeared skeptical last week at the thought that Syria would give up its chemical weapons to avoid military action. He stated, “We will look at these ideas. So far, at least, I have not seen ideas presented that, as a practical matter, I think would do the job.”
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