Published time: October 15, 2013 16:22
Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti/Michael Klimentyev)
Lord Truscott, a member of the UK’s House of Lords, has nominated President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize for his plan to scrap Syrian chemical weapons. This prevented the escalation of the conflict and will “save thousands of lives”.
On Tuesday morning, Lord Peter Truscott submitted the nomination to the Nobel Committee. He believes Putin deserves a prize for his role in the initiative to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal, which helped to prevent the “civil war escalating to a fully international crisis”.
“I looked at what President Putin did at the G20, where he took [US] President Obama aside and gave this initiative a real push,” the British MP told Voice of Russia radio.
The impact of this initiative, the lawmaker believes, will be “quite profound on a number of levels”. It will save thousands of lives in Syria and internationally as well as “provide a model to diffuse other international crises,” including the dispute over Iran’s controversial nuclear program, he explained.
Lord Truscott is an independent member of the UK House of Lords and a writer. He is the author of a biography of Vladimir Putin [‘Putin’s Progress’].
Truscott made headlines back in 2009, when he and Lord Taylor of Blackburn became the first peers in over 350 years to be suspended for six months from the Lords over the “cash for amendments” affair.
Awarding the Nobel Prize to Putin could become Russia’s reward for its efforts on Syria. Since the Cold War, the country has felt marginalized in the international arena, Lord Truscott said.
“Now it has taken center stage, a constructive stance, and I think Russia should be rewarded.“
The August-21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds of people sparked outrage in the international community, and many blamed the Assad regime for the deadly incident, even though there was no concrete evidence to support their allegations.
US President Barack Obama – the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize – had been pushing for a military strike against Damascus in response to the attack. But Moscow proposed that Syria should put its chemical stockpile under international control and join the Chemical Weapons Convention. The initiative was accepted by the Syrian government and Washington, and then discussed in detail by the Russian and American foreign ministers in Geneva.
Under the deal, Damascus agreed to hand over its chemical weapons for destruction by mid-2014. Syria was also given until November 1 to destroy production facilities and weapons-filling equipment. The first team of international experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in the republic on October 1 to monitor the dismantling of the Bashar Assad army’s stockpiles of poisonous gas.
The OPCW has become this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, which came as a surprise to many.
The Nobel Committee said it was in honor of the OPCW’s “extensive work to eliminate chemical weapons”. President Putin had also been nominated for the prize for his efforts in brokering the Syria deal, but the application came too late to be considered this year.