Syria Accepts Russian Weapons Proposal

MOSCOW (September 10, 2013)--Syria said Tuesday it has accepted Russia's proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent dismantling.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday after meeting with Russian parliament speaker that his government quickly agreed to the Russian initiative to "derail the U.S. aggression."

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia is now working with Syria to prepare a detailed plan of action, which will be presented shortly.

Lavrov said that Russia will then be ready to finalize the plan together with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

President Barack Obama said Monday the Russian proposal could be "potentially a significant breakthrough," but he remained skeptical that Syria would follow through as he continued to try to make the case for a limited military strike.

Syria's main opposition bloc is still urging the West to strike Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime despite Russia's initiative.

The Syrian National Coalition dismissed the proposal as a maneuver to escape punishment.

It supports international military action, hoping a blow would shift the bloody war of attrition between rebels and Assad's forces, which has left more than 100,000 dead in more than 2 ½ years of fighting.

In a statement Tuesday, the coalition said Moscow's proposal "aims to procrastinate and will lead to more death and destruction of the Syrian people."

"A violation of international law should lead to an international retaliation that is proportional in size," the group said, adding that handing over the weapons isn't enough to offset crimes against humanity.


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