Russia proposes Syria chemical weapons deal to avoid U.S. military intervention
The United States says it's going to closely examine Russia's proposal of putting Syria's chemical weapons under international control.
"We want to take a hard look at the proposal, obviously discuss the idea with the Russians, and of course, we would welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons."
President Obama said on Monday that the Russians' proposal was a potentially positive development.
"If we can exhaust these diplomatic efforts and come up with a formula that gives the international community a verifiable, enforceable mechanism to deal with these chemical weapons in Syria, then I'm all for it."
Russia's proposal comes in the context of imminent U.S. military action.
The U.S. government says it is still skeptical and will have to wait and see if Syria follows through with the disbandment of its chemical weapons.
Government officials say it's important to keep pressure on Syria and give the president the authority he requested.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans to urge the Security Council to demand the Syrian government hand over its chemical weapons.
"I'm considering urging the Security Council to demand the immediate transfer of Syria's chemical weapons and chemical precursor stocks to places inside Syria where they can be safely stored and destroyed."
Russia's proposal came a matter of hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that the only way Syria could sidestep military intervention would be to forfeit all its chemical weapons.
"Sure, he can turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting."
Syria's Foreign Minister welcomed Russia's proposal to put the country's chemical weapons stockpile under international control, but stopped short of saying explicitly if Syria would carry it out.
"I state that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes the Russian initiative, motivated by the Syrian leadership's concern for the lives of our citizens and the security of our country."
Meanwhile, the Senate has put its vote on authorizing military intervention in Syria on hold in response to Moscow's proposal.
Senators were originally set to vote on Wednesday.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
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