Russia optimistic for peace in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said there is a still a chance for peace in Syria and the world must not let it pass.

"I am certain that there's a chance for peace in Syria," he said, adding a warning that military intervention would further destabilize Syria and the region, Interfax news agency reported on Thursday.

Speaking to students in Kazakhstan, Lavrov welcomed the Syrian government's acceptance of Russia's proposal that Damascus place its chemical weapons under international control.

Lavrov was to travel to Geneva later on Thursday for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry about the Russian proposal, which has prompted President Barack Obama to ask Congress to postpone a vote to authorize a strike on Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem also said his country would sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), following a Russian initiative under which Syria would hand over its chemical weapons and join a convention that prohibits their use.

Damascus pledged to open its storage sites and provide full disclosure of its stocks immediately.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

NTJ/NJF