Syria has accepted a proposal by Russia under which it would hand over its chemical weapons to the international community and its stockpiles would be destroyed, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Tuesday.
“We held a round of very fruitful talks yesterday with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who presented the referenced initiative on chemical weapons. We expressed our agreement with the Russian initiative yesterday afternoon,” al-Muallem told the Interfax news agency.
Damascus wants to “leave American aggression without arguments,” the Syrian foreign minister said during a meeting with the speaker of the Russian Parliament’s lower house in Moscow.
Lavrov, meanwhile, said Tuesday that Russia and Syria were working on a “concrete, clear and effective plan” to place the Arab country’s chemical weapons under international control.
Russia is prepared to present the plan soon to the U.N. Security Council and the international community, Lavrov said.
U.S. President Barack Obama plans to deliver an address to the nation Tuesday night to make the case for a military strike against Syria.
Obama has asked Congress for authorization to take military action against Syria to punish President Bashar Assad’s regime for using chemical weapons in an Aug. 21 attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
The chemical weapons attack killed 1,429 people, U.S. officials said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in London Monday that a “political solution” was needed to end the crisis in Syria and the Assad regime must be held accountable for its use of chemical weapons.
Kerry met with his British counterpart, William Hague, at the end of a European trip aimed at building support for a U.S. military strike on Syria.
The secretary of state said during a joint press conference with Hague at the Foreign Office that the evidence of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime was solid and U.S. military action would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”
The United States is not planning to wage full-scale war in Syria and Assad can avoid an attack by surrendering his chemical weapons, Kerry said.
“The United States of America, President (Barack) Obama, myself, others are in full agreement that the end of the conflict in Syria requires a political solution,” Kerry said.