(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin can be trusted, but cautioned the United States will "just have to see what happens" over efforts to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons.
"You work for the best and prepare for the worst in this business. But I think it would be a terrible mistake not to take advantage of the opportunity," he told CNN's Piers Morgan at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York. "And, you know, look, Mr. Putin is very smart."
Watch more of the interview Wednesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live," starting at 9 p.m. ET.
Inside the mind of Vladimir Putin
Clinton said he knows the Russian president well, and they have a "brutally blunt" relationship. He said Putin had never reneged on a personal agreement with him.
"He kept his word in all the deals we made," Clinton said.
Putin looks on as Kerry and Lavrov meet at UN
While Putin became president shortly after Clinton left the White House in 2001, he had served as Russia's prime minister during the latter end of Clinton's second term.
Shortly after Russia announced that it would work with the United States to try and forge a diplomatic solution on disarming Syria of its chemical stockpiles, many congressional lawmakers raised questions over whether Moscow could be trusted, given its strategic alliance with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Obama focuses foreign policy on Iran and Middle East peace talks
President Barack Obama has even expressed doubt, but argues diplomacy would be preferable to military action, though he's not against using force if an agreement doesn't materialize.
During his speech Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, Obama challenged the international community to enforce its ban on chemical weapons by agreeing to put pressure on Syria - even militarily - if the regime fails to relinquish those weapons to international control.
He called for a "strong" resolution from the Security Council, of which Russia is a member, to "verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments."
Bashar al-Assad says Syrian rebels may attack chemical weapons inspectors
U.N. inspectors returned to Syria on Wednesday to look into at least a half-dozen claims of chemical weapons use. The United Nations, as well as the United States, confirmed sarin gas was used in an attack on suburb of Damascus on August 21. U.S. officials blame al-Assad's forces and have said more than 1,400 were killed. Syria denies it used chemical arms.
– CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.
Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.
"many congressional lawmakers raised questions over whether Moscow could be trusted, given its strategic alliance with the regime of Bashar al-Assad."
It's normal to distrust the other party when it comes to negotiations, but in the case of Syria, what's the alternative? The American public does not want military intervention and inaction would be even worse (we could have another Rwanda). Negotiating with Russia seems to me the lesser of the evils. I'd rather we exchange angry words than launch missiles.
Putin is a man of his word ! He sticks to what he promises ! An honorable man.
I've never had sex with that woman! Trust me! I know what I'm saying.
Ted Cruz noted that he would not meet Putin in the rain, or on a train Not in a car, Not in a tree.
he does not like Vlad Putin, you see.
President Clinton is a genius....end of story.
Brilliant President and a Diplomacy Expert..
Common Sense + Brilliance= The Great President
Well I just hope Hillary is as good at dealing with him. I worry that Purin the mysoginist might be just as bad with Hillary as he is with Obama. However it probably doesn't make much difference who is President of the US, Putin has already made up his mind about America, and it's not a pretty vision he has.
I trust Putin to remain a socially backward and anti-American pig.
Yeah, Clinton lied, but the economy soared, he left G W with over 130 billion surplus, which GW shared with his Texas oil buddies, and let's not forget that GW remained in a school classroom while the two towers were crumbling. Ya know, how come we don't see the complainers complaining about gas prices and how we are lied to about that? The Secret World Government will decide what will happen with Syria..not Obama, not Putin.
Putin can be trusted? are you kidding??? Moronic idea!!!!
When Putin says, "I didn't inhale", you can take that to the bank!
It's completely possible that Syria could lie and hide a chemical bomb and use it. making Putin look like a liar and Obama a fool. Then where would we be? At war with another Middle Eastern county? Have some faith in Russia and the USA. They didn't get to where they are by being stupid. (Please forgive any misspellings or typos. it's VERY early morning where I'm at.)
Clinton is right.
Why does CLINTON love the KGB guy more than Republicans. This is pure political trash. Clinton is so morally bankrupt only a dumb whitehouse intern would believe him.
Impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, he should know about someone being honest and keeping his word.
Nation there no limits to my options of punishments.
Ya Bill, we know we can trust your judgement in all matters even though you lied, YES Bill, we all know you blatantly lied to the American People and in your deposition. You and Hillary need to retire Bill. Just fade away Bill.
I believe that Putin is every bit as trustworthy as Bill Clinton. LOL.