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Russia Urges Syria To Put Chemical Weapons Under International Control

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he urged Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he urged Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control.

Russia has urged Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpile under "international control" to avert military strikes.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on September 9 that he had conveyed the proposal to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem during talks in Moscow, but said he did not know whether Damascus would be receptive to the offer.

Lavrov said Moscow expected "a quick and, I hope, a positive answer."

For his part, Muallem said he welcomed Russia's proposal, but did not elaborate.

Kerry Comment

Moscow's move came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested earlier in the day in London that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avoid a strike by surrendering all his chemical weapons within a week.

Tony Blinken, U.S. President Barack Obama's deputy national security advisor, said Washington would take a "hard look" at the Russian plan.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon in New York said he may ask the Security Council to demand that Syria move its chemical arms stocks to Syrian sites where they can be safely stored and destroyed.

'Not Another War'

Separately, U.S. President Barack Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice vowed that any U.S. military action in Syria "would not be another war." Speaking in Washington on September 9, Susan Rice said the United States "must take action carefully, responsibly, and purposefully" to degrade the chemical weapons capability.

She said Washington intended to renew its push for a UN-backed political resolution to Syria's civil war following any strikes.

Meanwhile, Assad has warned Washington of "repercussions" if it launches a military strike against him.

Assad made the comment in an interview on the U.S. television network CBS, as the Obama administration sought authorization from Congress to authorize limited military strikes against the Syrian government.

The United States accuses Assad's forces of killing more than 1,400 people in a poison-gas attack on 21 August on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus. But Assad denied such an attack by his forces.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters