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UN Security Council Meeting On Syria Canceled

The plan for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons was proposed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The plan for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons was proposed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The UN Security Council has canceled a meeting on a resolution aimed at securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.

The closed consultations had been scheduled for 4 pm local time in New York on September 10.

Australian Ambassador Gary Guinlan said in a Twitter message that the meeting was canceled "following withdrawal of the request for consultations."

Council diplomats said Russia had asked for the meeting. There were no other details on why it was canceled.

Earlier, diplomats had said the meeting was expected to focus on a Russian plan to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control.

The plan was proposed on September 9 by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in televised remarks the following day that the initiative can go ahead only if Washington renounces using force.

"Obviously, all of this makes sense and can work only provided that we will hear that the Americans and all of their supporters are backing off from the use of force because it is difficult to make any country -- Syria or any other -- to unilaterally disarm while an action of force against it is in the making," Putin said.

The Russian leader added that he hoped the plan would help peacefully defuse the Syrian imbroglio.

"We hope that our Syrian partners and friends will take a responsible decision not only agreeing to place their chemical weapons under [international] control but also accepting its subsequent destruction and will join the International Chemical Weapons Convention," he said. "All of this together, I believe, will constitute a very positive step towards a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis."

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U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone earlier on September 10 with French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama, Cameron, and Hollande agreed to have the UN Security Council explore a proposal floated by Russia to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control.

Carney said the three leaders all have "a preference for a diplomatic solution" on Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.

Carney, however, added that the three leaders also see a need for the international community to weigh a "full range of responses" on the issue.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on September 10 that his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov has rejected a French proposal for a binding Security Council resolution calling for sanctions if Syria does not hand over its banned chemical arms. According to Fabius, Lavrov described such a proposal as "unacceptable."

Earlier the same day, the Syrian government said it had agreed to the Russian proposal.

Speaking after meeting with members of the Russian State Duma in Moscow on September 10, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Damascus had "agreed to the Russian initiative" to "uproot U.S. aggression."

Speaking in a series of television interviews on September 10, President Obama told reporters that he had instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to speak with Russian officials about the viability of the proposal.

"It's a potentially positive development," Obama said. " I have to say that it's unlikely that we would have arrived at that point, where there were even public statements like that, without a credible military threat to deal with the chemical weapons use inside of Syria."

Obama is expected to address the nation later about the Syrian crisis later on September 10.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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