Assad: ‘I will hand over chemical weapons’

By Josh Jackman, September 12, 2013
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that he will hand over his country’s chemical weapons to the international community.

Speaking on Russian television, Mr Assad stated that “Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision.”

On Monday night, President Barack Obama said that hundreds of civilians were “gassed to death” by Assad’s government in a national address which made the case for a limited military strike on Syria.

According to The Telegraph, the Russian channel Rossiya 24 also released clips of Assad saying that Syria is passing on files to the United Nations to begin the handover process.

The statement came ahead of a meeting in Geneva between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and American Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss Russia’s plan for Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile to be secured by the international community.

According to Mr Lavrov, under the proposal, Syria would sign up to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits countries from using or producing chemical arms.

The plan would also involve Syria disclosing information on where its chemical weapons are stored, and agreeing to any measures which experts deem necessary.

Speaking before he travelled to Geneva, Mr Lavrov said: “I am sure that there is a chance for peace in Syria. We cannot let it slip away.”

Last updated: 3:34pm, September 12 2013