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Yaalon: Credible Military Threat Brings Diplomatic Solutions

The deal over Syria's chemical weapons proves that a credible threat of force can bring diplomatic solutions, says Defense Minister.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/17/2013, 2:16 AM

Moshe Yaalon
Moshe Yaalon
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Monday that the U.S.-Russian deal for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons proved that a credible threat of force could bring about diplomatic solutions.

"The latest developments, in which a diplomatic solution is emerging for Syria to be disarmed of chemical weapons, demands determined action and will be judged over time according to  results," a statement from his office quoted Yaalon as saying in an address to defense ministry staff.

"But it is proof  to the countries of the free world that a significant and credible military threat, as applied at the beginning of the crisis, deters dangerous rogue regimes and is able to advance a diplomatic solution to disarming countries of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"In other words, he who seeks peace must prepare for war," said Yaalon.

Under the terms of the deal that was struck in Geneva on Saturday between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, President Bashar Al-Assad has a week to hand over details of the quantity and location of all the chemical agents in its possession.

Kerry paid a whirlwind visit to Jerusalem on Sunday for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and warned Syria that it was not off the hook yet.

"The threat of force remains, the threat is real," Kerry said at a joint news conference with the Israeli prime minister, reported AFP.

Netanyahu told Kerry that stripping Syria of its chemical stockpile would make the region "a lot safer", and drew parallels with the threat posed by a nuclear Iran.

"The world needs to ensure that radical regimes don't have weapons of mass destruction because, as we've learned once again in Syria, if rogue regimes have weapons of mass destruction they will use them," he said.

Yaalon too said that Iran's nuclear ambitions should be addressed, as well as the Syrian issue.

"In parallel, from our point of view, the world must display clear and uncompromising determination toward the extremist regime in Tehran and its advancing program to develop a military nuclear weapon," he said, according to AFP.

Syria's information minister Omran Al-Zoubi told British television on Sunday that Damascus would commit to the plan to eradicate its chemical weapons once it has United Nations approval.