September 12, 2013 - 18:11 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on Russian TV to confirm that his country's chemical weapons will be placed under international control, BBC News reported.
Assad told Rossiya 24 the move was as a result of a Russian initiative and not the threat of U.S. military action.
The comments came as the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers prepared for key talks in Geneva.
The U.S. accuses the Syrian regime of killing hundreds in a poison-gas attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21 August. The government denies the allegation, blaming rebels for the attack.
Assad told Rossiya 24, the state-run news channel: "Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision."
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier outlined three main phases of Moscow's proposal: Syria joins the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production and use of the weapons; Syria reveals where its chemical weapons are stored and gives details of its programme; Experts decide on the specific measures to be taken.
Lavrov, completing a visit to Kazakhstan, said: "I am sure that there is a chance for peace in Syria. We cannot let it slip away."
He did not mention the destruction of the weapons, which is thought to be a sticking point in Moscow's negotiations with Damascus.
Lavrov is due to discuss the plan in Geneva with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who will first hold talks with UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
According to Reuters, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, Sept 12, he was doubtful that President Bashar al-Assad would fulfill his pledge to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, and said he was buying time for new "massacres".
"The Assad regime has not lived up to any of its pledges, it has won time for new massacres and continues to do so. We are doubtful that the promises regarding chemical weapons will be met," Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.