AP interview: Syria says renouncing arms shows strength

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A senior Syrian government official says his country’s acceptance of a Russian initiative to relinquish its chemical weapons is a sign of strength.

Cabinet minister Ali Haidar says that by agreeing to the proposal, Damascus has removed one of the pretexts for war against Syria, although he says the threat of foreign military action remains.

Syria did not agree to the proposal out of “fear of any enemy” and it should not be interpreted as a concession, he says.

Haidar spoke Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press in Damascus.

He said the Russian deal is still a “broad headline” that needs to be developed. He added that Syria was ready to sign the chemical weapons convention but not if such a move is imposed.

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