Putin calls on US to renounce use of force in Syria

Putin calls on US to renounce use of force in Syria

MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Putin calls on US to renounce use of force in Syria

Russia's President Vladimir Putin makes a statement on issues connected with chemical weapons in Syria at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sept. 10 the United States should renounce the option of using force in Syria to allow checks on Damascus's chemical weapons to go ahead.

The demand came as Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a U.N. resolution being prepared by France calling on Syria to give up its chemical weapons or face military action was "unacceptable".

"Mr Lavrov stressed that France's proposal to seek approval at the U.N. Security Council for a resolution... that puts the responsibility for the possible use of chemical weapons on the Syrian authorities is unacceptable," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Putin, whose proposal Monday to secure Syria's chemical weapons was welcomed by Western powers, said Syrians viewed the arsenal as an "alternative" to Israel's nuclear arms.

"It (the proposal) all makes sense and can work if the US side and all those who support it renounce the use of force," he said, according to Russian television.

"It is difficult to constrain Syria or another country to disarm unilaterally while military action against that country is being prepared.

"Russia's position on this question is well known: we are against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, chemical or nuclear," he added.

The United States, which accuses the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons on its people, has insisted that military action to punish the regime remains on the table.

But Putin said he hoped that by working with Syria in tandem with the Americans, a peaceful solution could be reached.