Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
11th March, 2016
The American media has reported a conversation with US President Barack Obama in which he announced his authorship of the initiative in 2013 to get rid of the chemical weapons in Syria to prevent a military operation against the country.
In 2013, the US administration accused the Syrian authorities of using chemical weapons against civilians. Initially, Obama had planned to perform the operation at their own discretion, but it then went to Congress for a formal resolution, where the majority of Congress were opposed to it. In September 2013, Russia initiated the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria under the supervision of the OPCW. Obama accepted this initiative, and US military intervention in Syria was averted. Stocks of chemical weapons were successfully removed from Syria and destroyed: at the end of October 2014, the OPCW reported the destruction of 97.8% of chemicals for military use, which were previously removed from the country.
Columnist for The Atlantic and Foreign Policy magazine, Jeffrey Goldberg, earlier arranged a few interviews with Obama, which on Thursday were published in a long text. In it, in particular, the journalist recounts memories of Obama on the talks on Syria.
“In the confusion “God appeared from the car” (the unexpected decision — ed.) in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, a week after he changed his mind about Syria, Obama, according to his memoirs, took Putin aside and said to the Russian President, “If we get (Syrian President Bashar) Assad to get rid of the chemical weapons, it would obviate the need to launch military strikes,” said Goldberg’s publication, who received unprecedented access to the White house for interviews with the President.
In April of last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, recalling the talks on the situation with chemical weapons in Syria, and said that a few days before the expected adoption of the US’ decision to bomb Damascus, Putin at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg put forward the idea to achieve the signature of Syria on the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation stressed that Putin’s idea was “don’t bomb them if you are speaking just about chemical weapons and about nothing else,” and that Russia in this case is willing to use its influence to persuade Damascus to sign the Convention to eliminate chemical weapons.
According to Lavrov, the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian authorities, evidence of which was never presented, served as a pretext to start bombing Damascus to overthrow the Syrian government.