Madeleine Albright: 'We don't have to trust' Russia on Syria

Sept. 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said she doesn't trust Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the United States has to be able to work with him.

Moscow, a major supporter and arms supplier to the Syrian regime, proposed international supervision over Syria's chemical weapons as the United States threatened a military response over the August gas attack that killed approximately 1,400 people in Damascus.

Russia and the United States agreed Saturday to the proposal, which would lead to the destruction of Syria's chemical arsenal next year.

In an appearance Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," Albright said that while she doesn't trust Putin, the Russians "have played and continue to play an important role."

"And I don't think we have to trust him. I think we have to be able to work with him on issues of common interest. And I think that that's where we are now," she said. "I think [the Russians] also have a reason for wanting stability in the Middle East. And they also, I think, want to get re-involved in the Middle East and show their influence.

Albright said she thinks that despite the agreement between the United States and Russia, U.S. President Barack Obama should still pursue a vote in Congress for permission to use military force against Syria if necessary.

"I think the president needs to keep the use of force on the table because it is my belief that the threat of the use of force is what got us to where we are," she said. "I have always been a great believer in the combination of force and diplomacy."

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