WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The New York Times on Wednesday evening published an op-ed piece on its website by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who argued for caution in the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, while urging the U.S. to work through the mechanism of the United Nations for a peaceful resolution to the issue.
In the article, titled "A Plea for Caution From Russia," Putin wrote that recent events surrounding Syria have prompted him to "speak directly to the American people and their political leaders" to remind the U.S. of the importance of the United Nations in the international order.
"No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage," wrote Putin, "This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization."
The Russian president continued to argue against military intervention in Syria, saying it will undoubtedly result in civilian casualties in a country embroiled in "armed conflict between government and opposition."
"There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government," warned Putin. He also aired his doubts over the U.S. claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons.
"There is every reason to believe that it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists."
Putin also said Russia is "not protecting the Syrian government, but international law", while advocating a peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future.
"Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression," wrote Putin, invoking failed U.S. military ventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
At the end of the article, Putin questioned the wisdom of American exceptionalism, saying it is "extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," as "God created us equal."
On Tuesday evening, U.S. President Barack Obama appeared to embrace the Russian proposal to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control, after weeks of arguing that the United States should use military force to punish Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons.
BEIJING, Sept.12 (Xinhua) -- More countries are responding positively to a Russian initiative to put Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles under international control to avert a possible U.S. strike on the Arab country.
"Iraq welcomes the Russian initiative that calls on the Syrian government to hand over their stockpiles of chemical weapons for international supervision and control as an international measure of disarmament," an Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement said Wednesday. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council met here on Wednesday to discuss Syria's chemical weapons crisis, but no deal was reached, diplomatic sources said.
Each member set out their position, with Russia blocking the move to mount pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Full story
MOSCOW, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia had evidence that the Syrian opposition possessed and used chemical weapons, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.
"There are reasons to presume that not only the Syrian government but also the militants possess chemical weapons," said Alexei Pushkov, head of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma, or lower house of the parliament. Full story
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday evening embraced the Russian proposal to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control, opting for a way out of the bind he found himself in after his push for Congressional authorization of a military strike yielded little result.
The sharp turn from military action to multilateral diplomacy signifies the changing times in which Americans are ready to look inward. Full story