Syrians Formally Accept Russian Proposal
Not surprisingly, the Syrians have formally accepted Russia’s proposal to turn their chemical weapons stocks over to a third party:
MOSCOW (AP) — Syria said Tuesday it has accepted Russia’s proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent dismantling.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday after meeting with Russian parliament speaker that his government quickly “agreed to the Russian initiative.”
Al-Moallem added that Syria did so to “uproot U.S. aggression.”
His statement sounded more definitive than his remarks Monday, when he said that Damascus welcomed Russia’s initiative.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia is now working with Syria to prepare a detailed plan of action, which will be presented shortly.
Lavrov said that Russia will then be ready to finalize the plan together with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Where we go from here is unclear. There’s still the question of a time period for how long this turnover would take place, who the “third party” that would take custody of the weapons would be (as an initial step, the Russians seem like the logical choice), and what involvement any threat of force for non-compliance would take. Nonetheless, it does appear that yesterday’s developments were the real thing and that the game has changed significantly on Syria.