Russian President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the decision of his US counterpart Barack Obama to continue the dialogue process on the Syrian issue.
“I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria,” Putin wrote in an article published in The New York Times Wednesday.
“We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations,” he wrote.
Putin started off by stating that recent events surrounding Syria had “prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders”.
“Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country,” Putin wrote.
“There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government.”
According to the Russian president, his country has from the outset advocated peaceful dialogue so that the Syrian people can “develop a compromise plan for their own future”.
“We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos.
“The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not,” Putin wrote.
He pointed out that, under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defence or by the decision of the Security Council.
“Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression,” he stated.
“No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.”
Stating that people should stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilised diplomatic and political settlement, Putin wrote that “all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction”.
“If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues,” he stressed.
Stating that his personal relationship with Obama was marked by growing trust, the Russian leader, however, described as extremely dangerous Obama’s attempts to justify the American nation’s exceptionalism in the latter’s address to the nation Sep 10.
“I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional’.
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” he stated.
In concluding, he invoked god and reminded readers that all people are equal.
“We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal,” Putin wrote.