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Putin talks Syria at conference in Bali

October 08, 2013, 11:58 UTC+3
After APEC summit, Russia's President covers pressing issues regarding Syria
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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

DENPASAR, Bali (Indonesia), October 8 (Itar-Tass) - The disagreements on Syria between Russia and the United States are tactical, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Speaking at a news conference after the APEC summit, Putin said, “The United States does not want Al Qaeda to come to power. Is that true?”

Russia and the United States have common goals to stabilize the situation in Syria, the Russian president said.

Chemical weapons 

Vladimir Putin said it was rather realistic to eliminate chemical weapons within a year. He said, “Syria will be able to eliminate chemical weapons within a year - the term, which was determined by U.N. specialists.”

“I don’t know, but we trust in international experts for chemical disarmament. Americans and we trust them,” the Russian president said, adding that the whole world recognized the authority of these specialists.

“If U.N. specialists say it can be done within the year, that’s it so,” he said.

Commenting on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Putin said this issue should be resolved by the Syrian people within the country’s sovereignty and not by the Russian leaders or the leadership of any other country.

Peace conference in Geneva 

Putin also called for expanding the number of participants in the Geneva-2 conference on Syria by involving Islamic states. The president said, “Today our priority is to eliminate chemical weapons and resume the talks between the warring sides on the platform of the Geneva-2 conference.”

“I can say we consider possible to expand the number of participants in the conference by involving key Islamic states such as Indonesia,” the Russian president said, adding that Indonesia was a key Islamic state.

“I believe that it would be natural to involve Indonesia and we’d laud this,” Putin said.

The Russian president said he had talked with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry between plenary sessions. “We talked about Syria. We realize what should be done and what steps should be taken,” he said.

“I’m very glad that President Obama took such position. It was not easy for him. But he took a decision, which made it possible to avoid the tragedy in Syria,” Putin said, adding that his talk with Kerry also touched on further work to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria.

 

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