In an exclusive interview with FOX News, Syria's leader President Bashar Assad insists he will surrender his chemical weapons.
FOX News Radio's Ron Flatter reports:
He admits he has chemical weapons. A lot of them. Syrian President Bashar Assad says he will unconditionally abide by an agreement to give them up.
(President Assad) "Whoever country is ready to take the risk of those materials... have them take."
In an exclusive interview with FOX News, recorded Tuesday in Damascus, Assad said it would cost a billion dollars to safely dispose of that stockpile. As for that attack last month near Damascus?
(President Assad) "We didn't use any chemical weapons."
Assad says he never denied having the weapons, just that it was a classified matter before Syria agreed to comply with a UN ban.
Ron Flatter, FOX News Radio.
Editor's Note: The details behind Fox News' interview with Syrian President Assad:
On Saturday, Sept. 7th, FOX News contributor and former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich advised FOX management he believed he could secure an interview with the Syrian President, whom he had met on previous occasions. At the time, it appeared an American military attack on Syria was imminent and FOX News Executive Vice President of News Michael Clemente decided that Kucinich should pursue the interview, on condition that a FOX News journalist would also be included. We were presented with an opportunity for access to a volatile part of the world and felt that footage of Assad speaking would be of unique news value.
Over the course of the next 10 days, the situation in Syria changed dramatically. When our interview with President Assad finally took place on Tuesday, Sept. 17th, Russia's proposal to secure Syrian chemical weapons had, at least temporarily, significantly reduced the likelihood of an American attack. That prospective Russian deal continues to do so.
The interview, shot by agreement by a Syrian camera crew, was conducted with no restrictions on the questions that could be asked. FOX News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Greg Palkot, a veteran of Middle East coverage, conducted the interview alongside Kucinich, and Clemente was present in the control room and studio at the Presidential Palace in Damascus for the duration. Kucinich was not there in the capacity of a journalist nor was he representing FOX News in that role.
The entire dynamic of the story changed between first learning of the possibility of an interview and the actual taping. This gives you a sense of how the leader of Syria is interpreting these developing events, in his own words. FOX broadcast the entire interview without commercial interruption.
WATCH Part 1 of the FOX News exclusive interview with President Assad: