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Syria says it accepts Russian weapons proposal

Sep 10th, 2013 - International News

— Syria says 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."

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that 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.

— Syria's main opposition bloc is urging the West to strike Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime despite Russia's initiative to have Damascus surrender its chemical weapons to international control.

The Syrian National Coalition dismisses the proposal as a maneuver to escape punishment. It has been cheering for 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."

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

— The Arab League chief has expressed support for Russia's proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control.

Nabil Elaraby told reporters on Tuesday that the Arab League has been always in favor of a "political resolution." He added, "thank God."

The Arab league has blamed the Syrian government for the alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds of people and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. However it didn't support military action without U.N. consent.

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