Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech in Damascus, Syria, on June 3.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said Thursday that Syria will submit
data on its chemical weapons stockpile one month after signing a
20-year-old international agreement banning chemical weapons.
an interview Thursday with Rossiya-24 TV, the Syrian leader confirmed
its intention to place its weapons under international control, but said
it made the decision in response to a Russian proposal and not the
threat of a U.S. military strike.
He did not say when Syria plans to actually sign the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The arms control agreement, which has been signed by all countries
except Syria, North Korea, South Sudan, Egypt and Angola, was finalized
in 1993. Israel and Burma, also known as Myanmar, have signed the
agreement but not ratified it.
The convention outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and its precursors.
making his first public comments since Russia proposed this week that
Syria turn over its chemical arms to international control.
told the Russian TV channel that submitting details on Syria's chemical
stockpile is the "standard process" and that his country will follow it.
The first report of the interview was carried by RT.com, which said the full interview will be broadcast later on Thursday.
also said that the process is "two-sided" and suggested it will only
work if the U.S. halts its threats of military action against Syria. He
suggested that signing any deal would be tied to U.S. refraining from
backing Syrian rebels.
"When we see the United States
really wants stability in our region and stops threatening, striving to
attack, and also ceases arms deliveries to terrorists, then we will
believe that the necessary processes can be finalized," he was quoted as
He said, however, that American threats of military action did not prompt his moves.
is handing over its chemical weapons under international supervision
because of Russia," Assad said in the interview. "The US threats did not
influence the decision," he added. Syria will now give the United Nations the documents required for the procedure, Assad added.
The remarks came as Secretary
of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva where he will hold talks with
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov over the Moscow-sponsored
proposal that would potentially ward off military strikes.
Kerry and a team of U.S. experts will have at least two days of meetings with their Russian counterparts.
hope to emerge with an outline of how some 1,000 tons of Syria's
chemical weapons stocks and precursor materials as well as potential
delivery systems can be safely inventoried and isolated under
international control in an active war zone and then destroyed.
Lavrov described the focus as largely on "technical issues," The Washington Postreports.
it's necessary to make sure that Syria joins the convention on
prohibition of chemical weapons, which would envisage Syria declaring
the locations of its chemical weapons depots, its chemical weapons
program," he said at a briefing in Astana, Kazakhstan before heading to
Geneva. "On that basis, the experts will determine what specific
measures need to be taken to safeguard those depots and arsenals."
The meetings come as Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote a New York Times opinion piece urging President Obama's administration to exercise caution over the situation in Syria.
potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong
opposition from many countries and major political and religious
leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and
escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's
borders," Putin wrote.
Putin said "there is every reason to
believe'' that it was Syrian rebels rather than the regime of President
Bashar Assad that is responsible for the chemical weapons attack on the
outskirts of Damascus on Aug, 21., a suggestion strongly disputed by
Washington, France and a number of other nations.
PUTIN: Gas may have been used by rebels, not Syrian Army
in what the Foreign Policy publication is calling an exclusive report,
United Nations inspectors have reportedly gathered a large amount of
"evidence on the use of nerve agents that points to Syrian President
Bashar Assad using chemical weapons against his own people."
Foreign Policy based its report on an unnamed senior Western official.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius indicated Thursday that the U.N.'s
report on the incident may be published as soon as Monday, according to a