Putin suggests large Muslim nations join Syria peace talks

Russian President praises Syrian cooperation with chemical weapon removal, proposes other countries' participation

Vladimir Putin speaks during a press conference at the APEC summit on Oct. 8, 2013, in Denpadsar, Indonesia.
Dmitri Azarov/Kommersant/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Syria was "very actively" cooperating with international chemical weapons inspectors and suggested Indonesia join international peace talks to end the two-year civil war.

"The Syrian leadership has very actively joined this work and is acting in a transparent manner, helping international agencies," Putin said. "I hope that this work will continue at the same pace, in the same spirit."

He added that Moscow would welcome the participation of large Muslim nations like Indonesia in Syria peace talks, which the United States and Russia hope will take place in Geneva in mid-November.

"We believe it is possible to expand the number of (conference) participants by including such big Muslim states like Indonesia," Putin said on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade summit in Bali, Indonesia.

"In my opinion, it would be quite natural and we'd welcome it," he was quoted as saying by state news agency ITAR-Tass.

In a positive appraisal of his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the summit, Putin said Russia and the United States agree on how to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria.

"We have a common understanding of what needs to be done and how. I am very glad that President Obama is occupying this position (on chemical arms)," Putin told reporters.

International experts charged with starting the process of verifying and eliminating chemical weapons arrived in Syria earlier this month, and the destruction process began smoothly on Sunday. Russia, Syria's longtime ally, has offered to assist with the demolition process.

Putin said he believed experts would be able to achieve their goal of ridding Syria of its chemical arms within a year.

Al Jazeera and wire services

Related News

Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter