Valdai Club Experts: Agreement on Syrian Chemical Weapons Withdrawal Can Strengthen Russia’s International Standing

17.09.2013

The US-Russian plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons is an opportunity for Russia to demonstrate the role it intends to play in international relations.The Western models of democracy cannot be mechanically spread through the Middle East due to the distinctions of the region’s societies.

The US-Russian plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons is an opportunity for Russia to demonstrate the role it intends to play in international relations, said Toby Gati, member of the US Council on Foreign Relations and Special Assistant to former President Bill Clinton. She said a new stage had begun in international relations and it would be good if Russia played a positive role in it. Ms. Gati recalled that Russia had only advanced its initiative when the situation in Syria had come to a head. We are facing new challenges in the 21st century and we should think about this, she said.

Zvi Magen, research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University, and former Israeli ambassador to Russia, told RIA Novosti during the 10th Valdai Club meeting that Israel supports Russia’s initiative even though it is extending the life of Bashar Assad’s government. Mr. Magen praised Russia’s idea of bringing Syrian chemical weapons under international control for subsequent liquidation.

Commenting on the situation in Syria, Thierry de Montbrial, President of the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), told RIA Novosti that the Western models of democracy cannot be mechanically spread through the Middle East due to the distinctions of the region’s societies. Mr. Montbrial expressed support for Russia’s stand against exporting ready-made political formulas of democracy to countries with fragile political systems. “We must take these countries’ history into account,” the French expert said.

Mr. de Montbrial also said he regretted that France and the UK had not listened to the appeals of the Christian minority in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, which urged the West to act more cautiously in Syria.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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