September 9th, 2013
07:28 PM ET

Obama: Russia proposal for Syria 'positive development' - if it's real

By Catherine E. Shoichet and Jamie Crawford

A new possibility for a diplomatic solution in the standoff between Syria and the United States surfaced unexpectedly Monday as the war-torn country said it supported a proposal to hand over control of its chemical weapons.

But a key question loomed: Is that a viable option or simply a stall tactic as President Bashar al-Assad's government tries to stave off U.S. military action?

"It's certainly a positive development when the Russians and Syrians both make gestures towards dealing with these chemical weapons," President Barack Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Monday.

Asked whether the proposed idea was enough to avert a military strike on Syria, Obama said, "It's possible if it's real."

The U.S. president spoke hours after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Moscow that his nation "welcomes" a proposal that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made during talks on Monday. The idea: put Syria's chemical weapons under international control to avert a U.S. military response over an alleged poison gas attack last month.

"I declare that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes Russia's initiative, on the basis that the Syrian leadership cares about the lives of our citizens and the security in our country," Moallem said. "We are also confident in the wisdom of the Russian government, which is trying to prevent an American aggression against our people."

Secretary of State John Kerry discussed a similar scenario earlier Monday, though the State Department later said that al-Assad could not be trusted to relinquish his country's chemical stockpiles.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington remained "highly skeptical" of the Syrian regime.

"The only reason why we are seeing this proposal is because of the threat of U.S. military action," he said.

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Filed under: Assad • Military • Obama • Sec. State John Kerry • Security Brief • State Department • Syria • White House
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Mhtrhk Ddukjh

    TICK TOCK... TICK TOCK...

    September 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  2. USAPeasant

    This is a good plan, and is well worth trying. If it works it will produce numerous benefits, namely the removal of WMDs from a dangerous situation.

    Remember, if the plan does not work, we can always just missile strike Syria and leave the WMDs out in the open for Assad and the AQ Rebels to pick up like the Dems and GOP originally planned. Everyone knows America is powerful, we can hit Assad any day of the week, any hour, any month, so we might as well try a diplomatic solution first especially since it is a valid plan to secure the WMDs, plus its a convenient way out of the doghouse for our politicians. We might as well give this plan a shot because we have nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

    September 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  3. Rurute Nutrht

    If you cannot put your finger on a problem you can not solve it. One more day till 911 2013. The moon in the sky is almost the exact shape of the sybol on State flags accross the Muslium world. Guess what... historicaly there is a backside to the 911 season...in other words it is not over till its is over. So ask yourself how are the odds looking on that ten thousand dollar bet now...

    September 10, 2013 at 3:01 am | Reply
  4. Rurute Nutrht

    The price can go up from there and it will still will be a bargin for the idiots that did everything humanly possible to FUBAR Syria–

    September 10, 2013 at 2:43 am | Reply
  5. Rurute Nutrht

    Russia pays 100% IRAN pays 100% & China pays 100% for a total of 300% of 100% of the WMD clean up-that is a screaming deal.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:40 am | Reply
  6. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:08 am | Reply
  7. Random

    At this point it is really on Iran, and russia to pressure their ally to get this done. The American people have done their part we called the bs but don't be fooled we bought Syrians a chance, if you don't follow thru in a timely and conclusive way absolutely nothing we can do will stop what you have coming.
    One of the sides is firing cw, those not only are a horrible way to go, they can hurt the world which is politely allowing you to have your civil war with out much more than arms deals on both sides.
    Neither assad , or the rebels want to be gassed right? Nor do you want to die to our bombs. The solution is simple. Let US and Russia take command of them and destroy them. We would have no ground to get involved that way. You would be free to slaughter each other. We wouldn't need to worry about cw, not assad, not rebels, not the rest of the world. Even Iran must see the virtue of following thru for real with this, and how much you dont want to unite the American people against you by not following thru or playing games. You have a chance,

    September 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Reply
    • Random

      @US of course we cannot trust him or the rebels to do it. That is why it is important you guys stop doubting and get to the table and lay out what will make us happy. Personally the international coop to control (troops) and imho dispose of the weapons to negate this threat once and for all is the right way to go. It is not an invasion or act of war but an act of peace. Send in enough troops to secure the sites. International troops with specialists and equipment to safely degrade the chemicals to an inert state. Russia , and us & China for that matter can protect syria going forward if their lack of CW ever poses a threat to their national security. Both sides suck so lets not pick a side and attack a problem we can resolve. Even if they played games part of the deal should be to start immediately. Every minute that passes the world is safer with that much less material left.

      September 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Reply
    • Phelix Unger

      Well said, the only thing really is the time factor. Time shouldn't be a factor in securing the weapons as they are already held by Assad, he controls large enough areas of Damascus to fly people in and out on a regular bases, so bringing the professionals to deal with the weapons isn't an issue either. So if everyone really likes this idea it should be at the UN for a resolution tomorrow and passed. The next day bring in the personnel to deal with the weapons and within a couple of weeks it should all be over. I just don't think it will happen that way though, I hope it does.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:12 am | Reply
      • Random

        Agreed. The entire world is better off without the stockpiles. It negates who did it, it negates picking a side, it negates helping AQ or assad, it negates any concern we are drawn into it on false flags. We actually get something done. Rather than fighting ideologies because of chemical weapons , resolve the problem. Be done with it once and for all.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:27 am |
      • U.S.M.C. 1371

        And after being caught in the middle of the Assad military and the terrorist/rebels how high is the body count going to be? Not to mention when the "world" comes together in action it's just U.S. service personal in a different uniform. Best choice is to stay out of it.

        September 10, 2013 at 7:10 am |
  8. saeed

    f u c k russia soon china is going to nuke usa britain russia and india to dust in 1 go these people are messing with the wrong people.

    September 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Reply
    • Phelix Unger

      Saeed learn to relax man. Your going to have stroke at the pace your going. Laugh a little. Then go back and tell your shrink and let him know you still have a few issues to work out. That's a good boy.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • BIG SHIZ

        He can't relax, he's a gay Muslim living in Iran.

        September 10, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  9. Fdgjghk

    UGLY PIKE PUTIN CAUGHT...I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND WHY RUSSIANS ACT AS THOUGH THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT A *Cm. iS...

    September 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  10. Fdgjghk

    IT IS NOT REAL BECAUSE PUTIN DID NOT OFFER TO PAY...CONSIDERING ALL THE MONEY HE IS MAKING ON THE SYRIAN WAR MACHINE HE IS FULL OF BS CONSIDERING IT WAS NOT HIS IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE AND SINCE HE JUST SAID IT WAS HE IS FULL OF BS UNLESS HE PAYS FOR THE ENTIRE CLEAN-UP...

    September 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    • Random

      Russia doesnt want them having/using CW either. Think about it. They dont sell CW to them , they sell mortars bullets and guns tanks etc. CW kill thousands in an instant. It is CLEARLY in russias best interest considering they do sell syria weapons to eliminate the chance of more cw attacks , on either side. And that assumes they warmonger to sell guns, when that is a stretch I think.
      Also I think the American people would be happy to spend the 200 million dollars the pointless missile strike would have cost to eliminate the stock pile all together peacefully. Russia can go halfsies with us .

      September 10, 2013 at 12:49 am | Reply

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