Assad says it would take one year and $1 billion to destroy chemical weapons

imgSyrian President Bashar Al-Assad promised Wednesday he would surrender Syria’s chemical weapons but warned it would take at least a year to do so and cost one billion dollars.

His latest appearance came as UN envoys debated a draft resolution that would enshrine a joint US-Russian plan to secure and neutralize his banned weapons in international law.

In a confident interview with USnetwork Fox News, Assad insisted that Syria was not gripped by civil war but was the victim of infiltration by foreign-backed Al-Qaeda fighters.

He insisted that his forces had not been behind an August 21 gas attack on the Damascus suburbs that left hundreds of civilians dead, but vowed nevertheless to hand over his deadly arsenal.

It was Assad’s second interview this month with US television, and one of a series of meetings with Western journalists to counter mounting political pressure from Western capitals.

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