By Mick Krever
To many, Russia is taking the lead on resolving the standoff over Syria’s chemical weapons - but it doesn’t seem that way to Russia’s European Union ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov.
“It’s not an issue of claiming fatherhood,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from Brussels. “Success has many fathers, but failure is always an orphan. So we would like to share the fatherhood with anybody who is interested, provided it is a success.”
The plan has upended President Obama’s push for military action; he now is cautiously endorsing the proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.
But what, exactly, that plan will entail is unclear. A Syrian cabinet minister told the AP on Wednesday that the weapons would not be physically moved, but would just be put under international supervision.
Chizhov disagreed with that assessment.
“It envisages placing the chemical weapons stockpile of Syria under international supervision,” he said, “and also addressing the issue of succession of the Syrian Arab Republic to the convention on banning chemical weapons.”
Ultimately, he said, the plan is indeed “to have these weapons destroyed.”
Despite its potential to avoid American military strikes, Chizhov dismissed the idea, put forward by some skeptics in the United States, that Russia’s plan is just a ploy to keep President Assad in power.
“Many people in my home country and here in the European Union think that President Putin and Minister Lavrov actually came to the rescue of President Obama, who was facing possible defeat in the U.S. Congress,” he said. “So it’s not an issue of who is rescuing whom, but it’s an issue to rescue a political settlement, which in the case of military strikes would have become hardly possible.”