PUTIN WARNS US TO BACK OFF ON SYRIAN STRIKES – Russian President, Vladimir Putin last night gave a press release that warned the U.S President that he must withdraw the threat of missile strikes against Syria before Russia would back Obama’s plans to force Bashar al-Assad to hand over his arsenal of chemical weapons.
Putin believes that such a move would allow for more breathing room without excessive international tension and allow Assad to comply with international convention of banning all chemical weapons.
Currently the U.S, Britain and France are preparing to table a UN Security Council resolution that would force Syria to surrender its chemical weapons. It is estimated that Syria has a stockpile of over 1,000 tons of chemical weapons; which if Syria does comply would take years to dispose of.
The U.S and allies are also expected to ask the International Criminal Court to charge Assad with war crimes and bring him to trial. There are many quarters that might argue why the same requests were not made of George W. Bush and Tony Blair over the illegal incursion in Iraq.
A few days ago the U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry, appeared to have engaged in a complete u-turn after stating in a press conference that Syria might avoid military action by the U.S if it agreed to hand over control of its chemical weapons to the international community.
Some diplomatic sources said the statement was a blunder during his London visit and even his British counterpart, William Hague, looked visibly taken aback.
There appears to be a fair amount of skepticism over John Kerry’s remarks as some believe that that Assad’s chemical weapons could only be placed under ‘international control’ once Assad was removed from power.
Vladimir Putin however was quick off the mark to seize on the opportunity to avoid U.S military intervention and told the press that the Syrian Government would accept John Kerry’s proposal on surrendering its chemical weapons.
Syrian’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moualem told reporters that Syria would comply and declare all its chemical weapons to the U.S and sign the international chemical weapons convention agreement.
The Russian President, after Syria’s response, has insisted that the U.S renounce any option of taking military action and continue to allow UN weapons inspectors to investigate the scene in Damascus.
Iran also supported the Russians by declaring that President Obama has been given a ‘way-out’ of the conflict and should take the opportunity to do so.
Whilst many may view John Kerry’s press conference as a blunder it does allow everyone involved to step back and therefore reduce tensions. As yet, despite the U.S insistence that Assad was responsible for using chemical weapons in Damascus August 21, it has failed to provide any undeniable proof and until such time this request to hand over chemical weapons, which the Syrian’s have agreed to, might just be the best all-round solution.