“The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control to avoid a possible U.S. military strike, Interfax news agency quoted Syria’s foreign minister as saying on Tuesday,” reports Reuters this morning.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Syria had agreed because this would ‘remove the grounds for American aggression,’ the report said.”
Of course, Lavrov is scarcely speaking for President Obama, who spoke for himself with Scott Pelley of CBS News about the proposal.
Let’s see if they’re serious. But we have to make sure that we can verify it and enforce it, and if in fact we’re able to achieve that kind of agreement that has Russia’s agreement and the Security Council’s agreement, then my central concern in this whole episode is resolved.
While, the President said, “It doesn’t resolve the underlying terrible conflict in Syria. … this may be a first step in what potentially could be an end to terrible bloodshed, and millions of refugees throughout the region — that is of deep concern to us and our allies.”
He sounds encouraged. But he’s still keeping the pedal to the metal:
… I want people to understand that this ban that almost every country in the world has signed onto and has been observed in conflicts around the world is something that helps protect our people, our troops. … And that norm is worth protecting, particularly if we can do it in a limited, surgical way that does not involve troops on the ground or a long air campaign that would be both costly and could draw us into this long-term conflict.
More particularly, when you’ve yet to release intelligence and evidence to the world that President Assad’s regime is culpable in the tragedy.