Comments on the chemical weapons situation in Syria
September 10, 2013, 21:00
QUESTION: Mr President, everybody’s talking about Syria, chemical weapons and bringing Syria’s chemical
arsenal under international control. We have just received a report from Washington saying you discussed this matter
with President Obama at the G20 summit in
St Petersburg. Is it true? Did you talk about this? And if so, whose idea was it, President Obama’s or yours? And how realistic do you think this
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: It is a well-known fact that Syria has a chemical weapons arsenal, and
Syrians have always regarded it as a counterbalance to Israel’s nuclear stockpile.
Russia’s position on the issue is well-known: we are against the proliferation of any weapons of mass
destruction, including both chemical and nuclear weapons.
Given the current situation in Syria, this issue is particularly pressing, and we did discuss this matter on the
margins of the G20 summit in St Petersburg.
In fact, the matter of bringing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control has long been a subject of
discussion by experts and politicians.
And, like I said, the US president and myself also talked about this on the margins of the summit.
We agreed to step up these efforts and instruct the Secretary of State and the Russian Foreign Minister to work
together and see if they can achieve some progress in this regard.
On September 9, we heard US Secretary of State John Kerry saying in a public statement in London that the US thinks
this is extremely important for the resolution of the Syrian crisis. We, too, think this is a serious matter which
requires thorough consideration.
With the foreign minister of Syria currently on a visit to Moscow, our Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked to him, and he then talked
to his country’s leadership, and we hear that Syria responded positively to this proposal.
Not only do we think this is a viable option, but we really hope that our friends in Syria take this responsible
decision and agree not only to bring their chemical weapons under international control but also to have them
destroyed, and we hope Syria joins the international convention banning chemical weapons.
I think this will be a big step forward in resolving the Syrian crisis. Of course, all of this will only mean
anything if the United States and other nations supporting it tell us that they're giving up their plan to use
force against Syria.
You can’t really ask Syria, or any other country, to disarm unilaterally while military action against it is being
We will work together with Syrians and our US partners, and, like I said, I hope this will be a big step forwards
towards a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis.