Damascus thanks 'Russian friends'

Damascus thanks 'Russian friends'

Posted in the Chicago Forum


Matawan, NJ

#1 Sep 15, 2013
Obama defends handling of Syria as Damascus thanks 'Russian friends'
September 15, 2013 | 8:48AM ET

Israel gives guarded welcome to agreement over Syria's chemical weapons, but hopes for 'complete destruction' of arsenal

President Barack Obama suggested Sunday that “remarkable” progress on Syria’s chemical weapons was the direct result of U.S. pressure, as a minister in Damascus thanked “Russian friends” and Moscow’s diplomacy for the breakthrough.

In an interview with ABC’s This Week, Obama defended his handling of the crisis, insisting that U.S. policy had been consistent throughout.

“As a consequence of the pressure that we’ve applied over the last couple of weeks, we have Syria for the first time acknowledging that it has chemical weapons, agreeing to join the convention that prohibits the use of chemical weapons. And the Russians, their primary sponsors, saying that they will push Syria to get all of their chemical weapons out of the county,” Obama said.

But his comments came as the first response from Damascus put Russian diplomacy at the heart of the agreement.

Speaking to Russian state news agency Ria Novosti, Syria’s minister for national reconciliation Ali Haider, claimed the U.S.-Russian agreement as a “victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends.”

He added that “Russian diplomacy and the Russian leadership” had prevented a war against Syria."


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