WASHINGTON — The Polish Foreign Ministry Tuesday confirmed a report in the German newspaper Die Welt that Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski outlined a Syria chemical weapons deal similar to that proposed by the Russians to Secretary of State John Kerry well before the current deal became public.
According to Die Welt, Sikorski called Kerry on August 29th and submitted to him a version of the plan later proposed by Kerry and the Russians. He also reportedly talked about the plan in person with Kerry during Kerry's visit to Vilnius, Lithuania, the paper says, presenting it alongside Elmar Brok, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament.
Sikorski's spokesman Marcin Bosacki tweeted out the report, saying it described Sikorski's role in the "creation of a diplomatic plan around Syria":
The Polish Ambassador to the United States confirmed the story Tuesday evening.
"I am pleased that the Polish initiative put forward by Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski during his talks with Secretary Kerry presents an opportunity to resolve the issue of controlling the presence of chemical weapon in Syria," said Ambassador to the U.S. Ryszard Schnepf told BuzzFeed.
Sikorski has referred to the idea in interviews as well, telling Le Monde on August 30 that "If Russia, which doesn't want this intervention, said it would take responsibility for securing this arsenal, that would have an influence on events."
If true as reported by Die Welt, Sikorski's role in creating the plan would complicate the narrative as portrayed by American and Russian officials: that it was a joint effort conceived between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.
A State Department spokesperson did not return a request for comment.