By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Russia has announced its plans for making sure that Syria’s dangerous chemical weapons are placed under international control. Ever since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was accused of using chemical weapons in his country’s civil war, the US has led an international effort to punish Syria with military force.
US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John F. Kerry have been on the front lines of this diplomatic effort, meeting with both European and Middle Eastern allies. However, Russia has delayed any possible military strike against their ally, Syria’s government, by working with al-Assad’s forces for an alternative deal.
According to Russian news agencies, a source from the Russian government said, “We handed over to the Americans a plan to place chemical weapons in Syria under international control. We expect to discuss it in Geneva.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kerry are scheduled to meet on Thursday in the Swiss city, and already spoke by telephone on Wednesday. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem confessed on Tuesday that the Syrian government does indeed have chemical weapons, explaining, “We are ready to inform about the location of chemical weapons, halt the production of chemical weapons, and show these objects to representatives of Russia, other states and the United Nations.”
The US is skeptical of the Syrian government that they believe is responsible for a chemical weapons attack in the capital city of Damascus on August 21 that killed 1,429 people. The Syrian government denied that they did it, instead blaming the rebels in the civil war. Obama says, “It’s too early to tell whether [the Russian plan] will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments.”
French President Francois Hollande, whose country is allied to the US, recently said, “France will remain in permanent contact with its partners, mobilized to punish the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and to deter them from using them again.”