MOSCOW, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putinsaid on Wednesday global powers were "on the right track" with aplan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons and could avertmilitary intervention in the conflict if they worked together,
Agreement on the plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weaponswas reached after U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress toapprove air strikes to punish Syria's government over an Aug. 21gas attack the United States says killed more than 1,400 people.
"There is every reason to believe we are on the righttrack," Putin told an investment conference.
He said the chemical weapons plan, which has rekindled aneffort to convene an international conference to seek a solutionto the conflict, could not have been put in place withoutsupport from Obama and the leaders of many countries.
"I believe that if we continue to act in such a coordinatedway, it will not be necessary to use force and increase thenumber of people wounded and killed in the long-suffering landof Syria," said Putin.
Russia has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongestbacker during the civil war, blocking a number of Westerninitiatives in the U.N. Security Council and blaming the Aug. 21gas attack on rebel forces.
Russia has emphasised that rebels fighting Assad must alsoabide by the chemical weapons agreement and made clear it woulddemand proof of government responsibility for any future attackbefore approving punishment in the Security Council.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had seen reportsand heard from various sources that some Middle East nations haddeveloped close contacts with the al Qaeda-affiliated NusraFront and other militant groups, Interfax news agency reported.
Lavrov said the reports, which he did not describe indetail, indicate that "these radicals already have somecomponents of chemical weapons" that were either found in Syriaor brought in from abroad, Interfax reported.
- Politics & Government
- Unrest, Conflicts & War
- President Barack Obama
- chemical weapons