Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Syria’s decision to put its chemical weapons under international control and join the convention that bans them would make US strikes against the country " unnecessary. "
Lavrov made the remarks on Thursday ahead of talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Swiss city of Geneva to hammer out the details of Russia ' s initiative for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons, AFP reported. Lavrov said that that the goal of the meeting is to agree how to " solve once and for all the problem of chemical weapons in Syria " through the country ' s signing up to the global ban on chemical weapons.
" The solution of this problem makes unnecessary any strikes on Syria, and I am sure that our American partners… are strongly in favour of a peaceful way to regulate chemical weapons in Syria, " Lavrov said, speaking alongside Kerry in Geneva.
"We will have to see, together with experts... what further actions to take so that this process is not delayed and is proceeding in accordance with the strict rules of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," Lavrov added. The Russian foreign minister noted that the talks also give a chance to discuss the potential international Geneva conference to "take the current situation out of the stage of military confrontation" and bring the conflicting sides to the negotiating table. "That is our common goal and I hope that work today and tomorrow... will help get closer to it," he said. Earlier in the day, the United Nations confirmed that it has received documents from Syria on joining the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Russian government proposed the initiative during a meeting between Lavrov and his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem in Moscow on Monday. On Tuesday, Muallem said Damascus accepted the Russian initiative, agreeing to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the Assad government of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.