Assad: We didn’t bow to US threats

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In this Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, speaks with a correspondent from Russia’s state Rossiya 24 news channel, not pictured, during an interview at the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria. AP

WASHINGTON – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted Wednesday that his decision to destroy his stockpiles of chemical weapons was not forced upon him by the threat of US strikes.

“Yeah, there’s a misunderstanding that we agreed with this agreement because of the Americans,” he told US network Fox News.

“Actually, if you go back before the G20, before the proposal, the Russians, it wasn’t about handing over the chemical arsenal,” he said, referring to a Russian offer to oversee his disarmament.

“It was about attacking Syria in order not to use the arsenal again,” he said, in reference to US President Barack Obama’s call for a punitive strike against his regime.

“So it’s not about the threat. Syria never obey any threat. We actually responded to the Russian initiative and to our needs and to our conviction,” he insisted.

“So whether they have Chapter 7 or don’t have Chapter 7, this is politics between the great countries,” he said, referring to a UN rule that would have to be invoked to justify international action.

Syria’s ally Russia has opposed any UN Security Council resolution that would permit a Chapter 7 enforcement action in order to compel Damascus to hand over its chemical arms.

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