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MOSCOW, September 10 (Itar-Tass) - Implementation of Russia’s initiative on placing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control may prevent a major war in the Middle East and will furnish with US President Barack Obama with a way out for untangling the Syrian crisis peacefully, Dr. Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of the State Duma Foreign Policy Committee told a news conference Tuesday.
A US strike at Syria looked practically inescapable as recently as last weekend but a pivotal moment in the situation emerged after Russia’s proposal and it might grow over into a real breakthrough, Dr. Pushkov said.
He recalled Obama’s statement that if the Assad government did effectuate the transfer of weapons to international controllers a military action would be put off then. “And to put off would mean to renounce in that situation,” Dr. Pushkov indicated.
Russia’s initiative is highly beneficial for President Obama “who aspires to playing the role of a peacekeeper.”
“That’s a good way out of the situation because there’s a chance to follow the pathway of political and diplomatic settlement,” Dr. Pushkov said. “The probability of a U.S. strike is reducing dramatically.”
He stressed the special role that Russia was playing in the settlement of the whole situation around Syria. Had a similar proposal come from the U.S. Administration, Damascus would have hardly agreed to it.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday Russia was urging the Syrian government to place the chemical weapons available to it under international control with a view to its gradual further elimination and the signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention in the future.