Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks to the media in Moscow, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Syria’s foreign minister said his country welcomes Russia’s proposal for it to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
The Associated Press reports Syria’s Foreign Minister has said his country has accepted a Russian proposal to relinquish control of its chemical arms stores:
No time frame or further details were given about the proposal. It remained unclear whether Syria was making genuine strides toward a diplomatic resolution to the conflict that began in March 2011, or if the proposal was a ploy by Syrian President Bashar Assad to buy more time in the face of a potential U.S. strike.
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin hopes to send a delegation of Russian lawmakers to the United States to discuss the situation in Syria with members of Congress, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.
Russian legislators Valentina Matvienko and Sergei Naryshkin proposed that to Putin, saying polls have shown little support among Americans for armed intervention in Syria to punish its regime for an alleged chemical weapons attack.
The lawmakers said maybe U.S. legislators can be persuaded to take a “balanced stance” on the issue. Putin supported the initiative, which would require formal approval by the Foreign Ministry.
Russia has sent legislators to the U.S. before to try to persuade Congress about pending legislation. But sending a delegation to Washington to discuss Syria’s civil war could be seen as a publicity stunt, given the strong positions Moscow already has taken as a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. The U.S. has accused Russia of providing military support to Assad that has allowed Assad to cling to power during Syria’s civil war.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed evidence of the alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime as “absolutely unconvincing.”