World powers on 'right track' on Syria chemical arms: Putin

Reuters News
|
Posted: Oct 02, 2013 8:42 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Global powers are "on the right track" with a plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons and can avert military intervention in the conflict if they work together, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Agreement on the plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons was reached after U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve air strikes to punish Syria's government over an August 21 gas attack the United States says killed more than 1,400 people.

"There is every reason to believe we are on the right track," Putin told an investment conference.

Putin said the chemical weapons plan, which has rekindled an effort to convene an international conference to seek a solution to the conflict, could not have been put in place without support from Obama and the leaders of many countries.

"I believe that if we continue to act in such a coordinated way, it will not be necessary to use force and increase the number of people wounded and killed in the long-suffering land of Syria," said Putin.

Russia has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest backer during the civil war, blocking a number of Western initiatives in the U.N. Security Council and blaming the August 21 gas attack on rebel forces.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Timothy Heritage)