Putin: not sure 100 percent Assad will respect chemical arms deal

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he was not certain 100 percent that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would implement a deal to destroy his chemical weapons.

“Will we manage to carry it through? I can’t say 100 percent, but all that we have seen recently, in the last few days, inspires confidence that it is possible and that it will be done,” Putin said, according to AFP.

He was speaking a meeting of the Valdai international discussion club with Western politicians and journalists in the northwestern Novgorod region.

Putin, whose country has been the Syrian government’s main ally in the more than two-year-old civil war, said he had strong grounds to believe that an Aug. 21 chemical attack in Syria was staged by opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We always talk about the responsibility of the Assad government, if he was the one used it (a chemical weapon). What if the opposition used it?,” Putin said. “We have every reason to believe it was a cunning provocation.”

He repeated Moscow’s view that the methods used to make the chemical weapon used in the attack suggested it was home-made and not a type of armament used by the Syrian army.

Putin said Syria was already putting into practice the proposals announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday, AFP reported.

“Will we manage to convince Assad or not? I don’t know. But so far everything looks as if Syria has fully agreed with our proposal and is ready to act according to the plan that is being developed by the international community at the United Nations.”

(AFP with Reuters)

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