WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad said yesterday it would cost about $1 billion to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons under a plan agreed to by Russia and the United States last week.
In an interview on the Fox News television channel, Assad said his government would dispose of its chemical weapons arsenal but insisted that his forces were not responsible for a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus on August 21.
Getting rid of his chemical weapons stockpile would likely take about a year, Assad said.
“I think it is a very complicated technically and it needs a lot, a lot of money. Some estimated about a billion for the Syrian stockpile,” he said.
Asked whether he would be willing to hand over chemical weapons to the US government, Assad said:
“As I said, it needs a lot of money. It needs about 1 billion. It is very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don’t they do it?”