DAMASCUS, Syria, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- A Syrian government minister Sunday congratulated ally Russia for engineering a plan to avoid a showdown with the United States over chemical weapons.
Ali Haidar, minister of national reconciliation, told Russia's RIA Novosti news service the proposal to place Syrian gas under international control was "the achievement of Russian diplomacy and Russian leadership."
"We welcome these agreements," said Haidar. "On the one hand, they will help Syrians come out of the crisis, and on the other hand, they prevented the war against Syria by having removed a pretext for those who wanted to unleash it."
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 around 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.