(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.
Thats because Putin had a little respect for Clinton and Bush. He considers Obama an incompetent joke to be taken advantage of at every opportunity
Obama and clinton are not serious about the situation in syria.
Putin intervention kept us out of war......a war that Barack "I will not negotiate" Obama desperately wanted, simply to distract from his foreign and domestic failures.
I know, Obama is privately very grateful to Putin big time for an excuse not to get bogged down in yet another poorly defined military action in an extremely murky area. I just picture Obama smiling his big toothy smile on the couch in the White House, and raising a glass: Here is to you Vlad!
Putin provides better support for the U.S. Constitution than any U.S. politicians. He has a reasonable chance of defeating the bankers who are pillaging America and the rest of the world. The U.S. politicians are not fulfilling their oath of office, a Federal felony, and most Americans have become users and takers willing to give up their freedom and liberty for things of no value.
Putin has a reasonable chance of defeating the bankers who are pillaging America and the rest of the world. U.S. politicians are failing to uphold their oath of office, and the American people will give up their freedom and liberty for a bunch of nothing.
It's in the best interest of all involved to play these cards diplomatically. If they renege, we light 'em up.
Intense serious article...people complaining about some worthless sex scandal. THIS is why everyone laughs at Americans.
Who cares what the I didn't have sex with my 20 yr old intern in the oval office, two days later ok I did have sex with my 20 yr old intern . He needs approval attention and praise to feel special just like weirdo Muslim obama who took 3 years to find someone to make him a fake birth certificate, liberal are like in elementary school there entire life's, Ted Cruz president 2016
What President Clinton is saying echo's what many, many have said, Putin keeps his word.
Even protecting the South Ossetians was part of a peace treaty Russia had signed when they brokered an end to the civil war in Georgia.
Although our side went into hysterics and claimed they were putting the Soviet Union back together – in point of fact, it was just another example of Putin doing exactly what he promises to do.
For this reason, Putin has built up just an almost unheard of, in modern times, amount of respect.
these professional liars are discussing whether putin is trustworthy? LOL
Bill was the best president ever most prosperity lowest debt so he got it on it shows he's human. I forgive him. Now let's talk about how they took down both towers on Bush's watch!
In all due respect to Bill Clinton, but he was lying to the Nation on TV and he did copulate on the Oval office rug and not pay for the cleaning. Well, Bill we just cannot rust you. You did it to yourself.
Ban something for One...that all already have...and used it time to time...very smart!
The reason that nobody trusts Putin or the Russians is because they do not understand them. Most people commenting have never even been to Russia. Why should't Russia be allowed to have an Interest in Syria the same reason that the USA wants an interest in Syria and most other countries that the USA has invaded. This is not about democracy or saving people this is about commerce!
Thank you Bill for being honest.
All any poster on CNN knows about Putin they have been spoon fed by the media. Try to think fo yourselves for once and resist the temptation to graze with the other 300 million propaganda consumers.
First of all Clinton does not know well Putin, who is very deceptive and not honest. Secondly, why the Clintons are still dreaming about the White House. His wife, Hilary, would be a very weak president. No charisma, no charm, no knowledge, she is not respected by many current leaders. I think that it was enough – 8 years.
Lies huh, their lies didn't get us into a war and cost the lives of thousands of servicemen.
"Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin can be trusted....."
That's more than you can say for the clintons themselves.
I'd trust Putin over any USA politician, especially our liar-in-chief, Obama. As for Clinton, history will prove that he was responsible for osama bin laden's actions and 9-11, given he didn't have the guts to kill bin laden when we had a CIA SAD team totally surrounding him, and he cowardly failed to take action.
Don W ! You are soooooo right on everything you stated. The Assad regime will NEVER give up all it's chemical weapons but will give access to maybe.....90% of the sites spread throughout the country where they are stored. On the face of it it looks like all the pressure is on Putin to FORCE Assad to give them all up. It will probably end with Putin and Assad declaring that they have ALL been (destroyed/confiscated) only to find out later that they let Iran "borrow" the 10% that suddenly are "unaccounted for." Trust Putin? Next joke!
I don't know, is everyone seeing/hearing this. "Putin can be trusted", I do not want to hear another work from this person. I do not want anyone speaking for me, that thinks that Putin can be trusted. I hope I am not alone in my evaluation of the current political climate. Not only can Putin not be trusted, but Bill Clinton can NOT be trusted, so someone that can not be trusted saying that someone else can be trusted lends serious doubt to the whole government.
Read any other news report outside the USA, and you will see that the 1400 dead figure is being totally exaggerated by USA news agencies., and you've got to ask yourself why?? That, and the fact that the USA still has the worlds largest supply of chemical agents! Any USA bomb is technically a chemical agent, yet the USA doesn't have any problem using them... Drones, napalm, depleted uranium shells, nsa, irs cia, you name it, the USA has no problem using them, but when somebody else does, we complain?? Anyone else notice that USA weapons sales to other countries have more than doubled since our Nobel Prize Peace Prize winning prez took office (from $25 billion to over $50 billion). What a liar and hypocrite Obama is...
Putin wants to make a deal for the sake of not losing the naval base that the Russians have in Syria and to show Obama that he still pulls the strings in some region of the world. Putin does not care about the Syrian people, just like he didn't care about Georgian people , when he send Russian troops to attack Georgia in 2008.The old KGB men can't be trusted just look at his most recent record with the Russian elections and the back door deals with Medvedev. George Bush, who already tried to make friends with Vladimir and it didn't fly. The only way you deal with Russia is the President Ronald Reagan's way.
Mr Clinton is the best leader US had.......he is so smart he never pointed finger on anyone....the best thing I noticed.....he is unlaveled..................I salute.....Mr CLINTON