US Senator urges Russia, US to rid Syria of chemical arms

August 8, 2012 11:59

MOSCOW - US Senator Richard Lugar, a veteran disarmament campaigner, has urged Russia and the United States to put aside their differences over Syria and work together to remove its stockpile of chemical weapons.

In Moscow for talks with foreign and defense ministry officials, he said the proposal was his own, had not been officially sanctioned and the initial response from Russia had been cool.

But Lugar, who is serving his final term as Republican senator from Indiana, said the two former Cold War enemies could reap benefits in other areas - such as political and trade relations - if they joined forces to reduce Syria's stockpiles.

"I've suggested that we ought to be thinking ahead, about two great powers with great respect for each other, and considering tackling the problem of the chemical weapons of Syria," Lugar, the senior Republican on the US Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters in a Moscow hotel.

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