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Russia Urges Syria To Put Chemical Weapons Under International Control

September 09, 2013

Russia has urged Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpile under 'international control' if this would avert military strikes.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow September 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, 'we are calling on the Syrian leadership to not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on [their] subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on the prohibition of chemical weapons.'

Lavrov said he had conveyed the idea to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem. He said Moscow expected 'a quick and, I hope, a positive answer.'

Welcomed By London

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Russia's proposal.

Cameron told British lawmakers, 'If Syria were to put its chemical weapons beyond use, under international supervision, clearly that would be a big step forward and should be encouraged.'

He added, however, 'I think we have to be careful though this is not a distraction tactic.'

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

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier in the day that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avoid a U.S. missile strike by surrendering all his chemical weapons within a week, but immediately made clear he was not making an offer.


Meanwhile, Assad has warned Washington of 'repercussions' if it launches a military strike against him. Assad, told U.S. television, 'You should expect everything,'

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is continuing to pressure U.S. lawmakers to authorize limited military strikes against the Syrian government for allegedly using chemical weapons to kill more than 1,400 people.

The House of Representatives and Senate were due to formally start debating the nonbinding measure on September 9. It remained unclear whether there was enough support for it to pass.

The Obama administration says missile strikes are needed to uphold international norms against the use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government has denied its troops used chemical weapons.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/lavrov-syria- attack-terror-lavrov-warning/25099919.html

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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