Russian President Vladimir Putin set a condition that endangers the diplomatic initiative to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, saying it depends on the U.S. and other nations renouncing the use of force against Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Putin's remarks complicate the outlook for the Russian proposal a day after it was presented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who had seized on comments inLondon by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about the possibility of Syria turning over its chemical-weapons stockpile.
Kerry and Lavrov plan to meet in Geneva on Sept. 12 to discuss Syria, according to a State Department official who asked not to be identified in advance of an announcement.
Russia's effort to reach a deal "makes sense and can function and work only in the case that we hear that the American side -- and all that support the U.S. in this situation -- renounce the use of force," Putin said, according to a statement in Russian today on the Kremlin's website.
Putin's comments put him directly at odds with PresidentBarack Obama, who met today with Senate Democrats. The president asked senators to "keep the threat of credible military action available," Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delawaresaid after the meeting.
Kerry told the House Armed Services Committee in a hearing today that only such a "credible use of force" threat -- bolstered by Congress authorizing strikes -- can force a diplomatic solution after Assad used chemical weapons against his own citizens.
David Fuller's view Putin is enjoying this and living up to his most memorable quote: "There is no such thing as ex-KGB."Back to top