Assad Says U.S. Must Stop 'Threats, Arming Rebels' for Chem Weapons Plan to Work


President Bashar Assad said Thursday Washington must stop arming rebels and stop threatening military force if it wanted a plan for Syria to hand over chemical weapons to work.

"When we see that the United States truly desires stability in our region and stops threatening and seeking to invade, as well as stops arms supplies to terrorists then we can believe that we can follow through with the necessary processes," he told Russian television, adding that Washington should dispense with the "politics of threats."

But he also signaled that he was willing to comply with international pressure. "Syria will be sending an appeal to the U.N. and the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in a few days, which will have technical documents necessary to sign the agreement," he added in translated remarks.

Assad had vowed earlier on Thursday to hand over Syria's chemical weapons as Moscow and Washington were set to begin high-stakes talks on a Russian plan to avert U.S.-led military action against his regime.

Assad said Syria would place its chemical weapons under foreign control in line with Moscow's proposal.

"Syria is handing over chemical weapons under international control because of Russia," Assad was quoted as telling Rossiya 24 state news channel.

"U.S. threats have not affected the decision," he said, adding that Syria planned to file documents to the United Nations to sign an agreement on chemical arms.

Assad's move came as the U.S. and Russia prepared to meet in Geneva for talks on the proposal for Syria to open its doors to inspectors and eliminate its chemical weapons.

Backed by a large team of experts, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Officials from the two countries were to pore over Moscow's plan -- an 11th-hour proposal that led U.S. President Barack Obama to put off threatened U.S. military action against the Syrian regime.

Washington wants to see if Assad is serious about putting his chemical weapons stockpile under international control, amid allegations the regime used sarin gas in an attack near Damascus last month.

Ahead of the talks, a senior U.S. official said Washington was urging Syria to "declare all of their stockpile quickly."

The official said Washington would be asking for specific action from Damascus to test the regime's sincerity and discussing the "different modalities" of destroying Assad's chemical weapons and production facilities.

"It's doable, but difficult," the official said.

Lavrov voiced optimism ahead of the talks, saying during a visit to Kazakhstan: "I am sure that there is a chance for peace in Syria... We cannot let it slip away."

In a speech quoted by Russian news agencies, Lavrov said he was prepared to "ensure Syria's adherence to the chemical weapon ban convention."

The United States and its main backer of military strikes on Syria France have warned they will not allow the chemical weapons plan to become a delaying tactic in Syria's brutal war, saying the threat of military force remains on the table.

Revealing details of the Russian proposal for the first time Thursday, daily Kommersant said Moscow had given Washington a four-step plan for the weapons handover.

Quoting a Russian diplomatic source, Kommersant said the plan would see Damascus join the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), declare the locations of its chemical arms, allow OPCW inspectors access and finally arrange for destruction of the arsenal.

Syria's opposition has denounced the plan, warning it will only lead to more deaths in a conflict that has already killed more than 110,000 people since March 2011.

The commander of the Free Syrian Army, Selim Idriss, said in a video posted on YouTube that the rebels categorically rejected the Russian initiative.

And the Syrian National Coalition opposition group said the plan is a "political manoeuvre aimed at buying time" for Assad and would be a "green light" to other regimes to use chemical weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meanwhile made an unusual personal appeal to the American people to reject military action, in an opinion piece in the New York Times.

"A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism," Putin wrote. "It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance."

Putin welcomed U.S. willingness to consider the Moscow initiative, but warned any strikes without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, where Moscow wields a veto, would destroy the credibility of the world body.

Russia is a traditional ally of Assad, and Moscow, backed by China, has blocked any attempt to sanction his regime through the United Nations.

The talks in Geneva were expected to last two to three days and also focus on revitalizing efforts to organize a peace conference aimed at ending Syria's civil war.

As well as Lavrov, Kerry was due to meet U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to discuss U.N.-backed efforts to bring the Assad regime to the table with the opposition rebels.

Western officials have claimed the sudden renewal of diplomatic efforts on Syria was the result of the military threats, but have questioned whether Assad can be trusted.

Washington alleges that some 1,400 people died in the chemical attack on August 21 and was rallying support for a military response when the Russian proposal emerged.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Thursday that a much-awaited report by U.N. inspectors into the attack will "probably" be published on Monday.

"It will say that there was a chemical massacre," Fabius told French radio.

Comments 32
Thumb Roaring-FlameThrower over 7 years

Today is a special day! Bless you president Assssad for being a man of integrity and honesty. Those who doubted you are now confused and in disarray at your noble unprecedented decision. You have taught world leaders that politics can be honest when it serves the interests of the people. Soar high my president, soar like an eagle, like a lion with wings, like an angel. Bless you

Thumb Machia over 7 years

O great Assad. You were a visionary. You destroyed Homs, Hama, Damascus to create ruins for tourists to visit.
The millions of Syrian refugees will become foreign workers and send remittances back home and the Syrian economy will boom.
You made all the TV stations talk about Syria. Syria here Syria there. It became more famous than Mogadishu, Vietnam and Afghanistan. O great Assad you are a marketing genius.

Thumb Machia over 7 years

For you FT: Takfiris of the world unite and come to Syria for tourism and terrorism.
Come burn villages, execute Syrian soldiers, terrorise minorities and make Assad look good.
Come from Australia, Afghanistan and the UK. Come from Yemen, Saudi and Tataristan.
Show the world how Jihad is made and why they should not topple the tyrant ophthalmologist who can pluck eyes out faster than you can say pop.

Thumb liberty over 7 years

Yeah he gave up his precious deterrent weapons in order to stay in power and oppress the innocent syrian people.

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan over 7 years

exactly... as i have said America and Israel have been trying to get those weapons .. and now they have it without a finger lifted or a penny spent...
yet some see this as a good will gesture from Assad and a victory.. nobody but Israel won.. and defeated Assad.

Spin doctors... spin away..

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan over 7 years

your analysis is interesting considering i just read a washington post story that US arms have begun arriving to the rebels...
i do not think the whole story was just about these Chemical weapons, but breaking the "resistance axis".
I do not think USA and Russia are done, and this will not be over until Assad turns away from Iran and it's proxies.

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan over 7 years

john.. except there is no international boycott against israel and the armed resistance of Hamas is pathetic.. unless you mean the armed resistance of Lebanon.. which is non-existent since 2006.

Thumb benzona over 7 years

FT: Sam 300 aren't chemical weapons?

La chimie est partout..... Technically it is chemical. But they aren't WMD.

Missing fireextinguisher over 7 years

"President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian television Thursday that Syria would place its chemical weapons under international control but emphasized the move was prompted by Moscow, not U.S. threats of military action,"


Missing phillipo over 7 years

Isn't it interesting, no matter what happens in the Middle East, you "Southern" manage to turn things around so that Israel is to blame.
Isn't it time that you realise that certain things happen without Israeli intervention or influence.
Do you honestly believe that if Israel were really interested in making sure that Syria was not a danger to the existance of Israel, she would have sat quiet for over two years and let that murderer Assad kill over 100,000 of his own countrymen.

Thumb benzona over 7 years

Southern is not from the south. I'm from the South. He's not representative..... Just disregard his opinion. We don't even read him anymore... We lost hope. He's an aficionado of Claoun. A former army general, war criminal who awaits his judgement. Not to mention he's depleting with the help of his in-law our money for generations to come.

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan over 7 years

not only do you steal pics.. but have no common sense in understanding key events.. Assad lost his last deterrent against Israel.. his armed forces would not last SIX days against Israel.. this is nothing but a defeat handed to him by his "ally". he bowed to pressure, and feared the military threat that could severely limit his ability to keep up his offensive. If you want to call this poker, he just folded pocket rockets..

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan over 7 years

how long will he be able to keep firing those rockets?? that is the question..his air power is far inferior to the Israelis.. evidence by multiple wars and the complete thrashing over the skies of the bekaa valley in the 80s... you have to remember the army is very different than HA... not as mobile..

Missing peace over 7 years

really? lol

Thumb Machia over 7 years

FT, I agree with your analysis. The US is doing its interest. Obama had talked about a red line and that was the use of chemical weapons and today they forced him to give up this arsenal. Why should the US fight for democracy in Syria if it is not in its interest?
Who cares anyway!
In Lebanon, we should also do what is in our interest and the first thing to do is to leave our differences aside and unite in these dangerous times. We have great challenges, (refugees, Lebanese parties getting involved in Syria, etc.) and great opportunities (oil&gas, technology, tourism, etc.).
I suggest that we stop talking about M14, M8, Tayyar, Hezbollah, Mustaqbal, LF, stop the divide. Let's start a movement from the Naharnet forum to push and lobby for this.

Thumb Machia over 7 years

FT, I agree with your analysis. The US is doing its interest. Obama had talked about a red line and that was the use of chemical weapons and today he forced Assad to give up this arsenal. Why should the US fight for democracy in Syria if it is not in its interest?
Who cares anyway!
In Lebanon, we should also do what is in our interest and the first thing to do is to leave our differences aside and unite in these dangerous times. We have great challenges, (refugees, Lebanese parties getting involved in Syria, etc.) and great opportunities (oil&gas, technology, tourism, etc.).
I suggest that we stop talking about M14, M8, Tayyar, Hezbollah, Mustaqbal, LF, stop the divide.

Thumb Machia over 7 years

Resistance Shmesistance...Assad and his junta are in it for the power and the money. Nothing else. He is a petty dictator that has no value except being a great border guard to Israel.
The regime will give up anything and kill every Syrian and Lebanese just to stay in power. That is their plan and nothing else.

Thumb Machia over 7 years

Yes you are right. Assad is a great poker player. Obama shouted booo and Assad showed all the other players his cards. That is a new way of playing poker that I shall endeavour to learn.

Thumb benzona over 7 years

Baha Men used to sing in 2000 "who let the dogs out...".

In 2013 we can sing "who let the giraffe out..."

It wasn't me!

Thumb benzona over 7 years

Amen Samy.

Thumb benzona over 7 years

The only thing they're resisting is arrest.....

Nothing else!

Thumb benzona over 7 years

Definitely pathetic (hence sad) Ruby Tuesday.

They try hard to let Lebanese expats think these M8ers views represent the vast majority of our views. We expats, quite the contrary, the exact opposite of them. The worst is that they're getting paid for this........ Ya latif. May god preserve us from falling this law.

Thumb benzona over 7 years


Thumb benzona over 7 years

Because its supper time and we're hungry...... We wouldn't mind a burger right now!

Missing peace over 7 years

all this is part of a big show... never the usa wanted to oust bashar, so useful he is at keeping israel safe. the russians gave obama the opportunity to get out of the mess he fell in by avoiding him the strikes over syria... if the usa or israel wanted bashar out they would have done it much much earlier instead of procrastinating!

in the logic of the M8ers bashar should be called a zionist as he keeps israel safe from any bombing for decades!

Thumb benzona over 7 years

Well, Bachar and family are zionists. Since Suleiman Al Assad in the 1930s ! ! ! But this is well covered up.

Thumb Lebfrcan over 7 years

Had enough of this chameleon and how he manipulates / delays.
He learned a bit from his father.
Hope the US will not give him much time.
It's either now or pay the price for your mass murders.

Missing VINCENT over 7 years

Mr. Assad: And Russia came up and presented this option to you because of...?

Missing VINCENT over 7 years

ft, you say "... this article shows that the US is once again, dumping its allies". Too late, you're dealing with Obama who already told the world five years ago he does not want the U.S. to take a leading role in foreign affairs, specially Middle East. U.S. administrations come and go. By the way, how come the U.S. doesn't dump its ally, Israel? Woow scary Zionists! How come the Arabs with all their oil money and purchasing power have not been able to get together and slap their hands. Terrorism is much easier, isn't it?

Thumb eagle_eye over 7 years

Vote whether U.S. should strike or not:

Thumb habib over 7 years

Ya jezzar er7all

Default-user-icon bcdude (Guest) over 7 years

Assad is brutal,Syrian Rebals are just as evil,US backs them, NWO IS PUSHING THIS AGENDA,evil corporate nwo banks want syria,Americans actually believe the corporate run media,US has been depopulating the planet for the last 40 years,only doing what they are told by there evil bosses,Americans gotta be thee most brainwashed nation in the world,were all Brainwashed into thinking the US are the good guys now,sure world war 1 and 2 even the war in korea,US stood for democracy,since then look at whats transpired,vietnam,iraq,what a mess,no were facing down world war 3 in the coming years.scary