Zee Media Bureau
Damascus: As US and Russian diplomats are holding talks over Moscow`s four-step formula to avert any military intervention in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad appearing on Rossiya 24 TV news channel said that chemical weapons will be placed under international control, BBC reported on Thursday.
Speaking on the Russian TV, Assad said that his decision to place the chemical weapons under international control is because of Russia and not because of threats given by the US.
"We agreed to put Syria`s chemical weapons under international supervision in response to Russia`s request and not because of American threats," he said.
"In my view, the agreement will begin to take effect a month after its signing, and Syria will begin turning over to international organizations data about its chemical weapons," Assad added. He said this is "standard procedure" and that Syria will stick to it.
"Any war against Syria would be destructive to the entire region and would plunge the region in a series of problems and instability for decades to come," Xinhua cited state-run SANA news agency as quoting Assad.
"This is a two-sided process and we are counting, first of all, on the United States stop conducting the policy of threats regarding Syria," he said.
Assad`s statement came during an interview with Rossiya 24 channel a couple of days after his administration accepted a Russian proposal that Syria place chemical weapons under international observation to avoid US military strikes over alleged chemical attacks in Damascus last month.
Meanwhile, efforts to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control began today with top US and Russian diplomats meeting in Geneva to discuss the issue, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin made a personal appeal to war-weary Americans over the looming crisis.
Talks in Geneva between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on a four-step plan, which includes Syria joining the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will last till tomorrow, and could be extended to Saturday.
The talks are meant to come up with a draft plan on how and when Syria will hand over its cache of chemical weapons.
US President Barack Obama had been seeking congressional approval for military actions against Syria for an alleged Aug 21 chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital, which reportedly killed at least 1,429 people, including 426 children. The Syrian government has denied the allegation.
With agencies inputs