Syria PM says supports Russia chemical arms initiative
Syria's Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said Tuesday his government supports a Russian proposal that Damascus hand its chemical arsenal over to the international community to avoid a US strike.
"The Syrian government's support for the Russian initiative is out of concern for citizens' lives and for Syria's security, and is aimed at preventing a war that may have consequences far beyond the region," Halqi said, quoted by state news agency SANA.
Halqi's statement comes a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem in Moscow.
Damascus welcomed Moscow's proposal shortly after it was made, amid talk of a punitive US strike against President Bashar al-Assad's regime over the alleged use in August of chemical weapons.
Muallem meanwhile said on Tuesday that Damascus "has expressed its approval" for the Russian initiative.
Talk of a US strike against Syria comes after an alleged chemical attack near Damascus on August 21, which the opposition claimed killed up to 1,400 people.
Halqi said his government is ready to cooperate "with any international political initiative aimed at defusing war", SANA said.
"The Syrian people want to come out of the current crisis through a national dialogue, and welcome any initative that leads in that direction, especially Geneva 2," Halqi added.
His statement referred to a US-Russian plan aimed at bringing rebels and government officials to the negotiating table.
"The global divide at the G-20 meeting" that took place on Thursday and Friday in Saint Petersburg reflected a split between the United States, "which is trying to renew its capitalist, imperialist hegemony", and Russia, China "and other emerging nations", said Halqi.
"At the core, it is a struggle for global leadership and for the future of the global economy," said Halqi, adding that "Russia and China's victory over the unipolar (international order) will bring a more just and humane world".
© 2013 AFP