Opinion / Web Comments

Sincerity key to US and Syria

(Xinhua) Updated: 2013-09-11 09:59

BEIJING, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The dynamics of the Syria issue took a positive turn as there are sparks of hope that a planned US military strike against the arab country could be averted, after Russia proposed that Damascus place its chemical arsenal under international control.

The fact that the constructive and brilliant initiative was immediately backed by the majority of the international community demonstrated the world's almost unanimous yearning for a peaceful settlement to the crisis.

The proposal was welcomed by Damascus, while US President Barack Obama also said on Monday he considered it a "moderately positive development," although he still pressed the case for "a credible threat of military pressure".

Turning over Syria's chemical arsenal to international control is by far the most feasible plan to avert a violent, bloody showdown between the US and Syria.

It offers a solution to the respective dilemmas of both Damascus and Washington. For Obama, if the motive of the planned punitive strike is to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria as he claims, the Russian proposal could achieve that end without a drop of blood spilled. Washington could avoid a military attack unpopular both at home and abroad.

For the Syrian government, giving up its chemical arsenal would show the world that it has no intention of using the prohibited weapons. It could also reduce international concern that such weapons, given current chaos in the country, could end up in the wrong hands.

Nevertheless, in the end it's up to both Washington and Damascus to show sincerity and take concrete steps to make the initiative work, despite tremendous political and technical difficulties.

For the US part, it needs to roll back the attack plan a little and pledge not to take any unilateral action, thus giving Syria some breathing space to turn in chemical weapons.

As for Syria, it should stay cooperative and honest with the United Nations, and present a detailed timetable for handing over its chemical arms as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, the international community needs to actively support the UN in providing all the necessary assistance to turn this proposal into a concrete peace plan.

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