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Russia Hands US Plan for Syrian Diplomacy

Russian news agencies report that Moscow has given the United States its plan for securing Syria's chemical weapons ahead of a meeting Thursday in Geneva between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart.

Details were not available. Kerry has said that reaching any agreement on a chemical weapons plan would be "exceedingly difficult."

A French official said Wednesday that negotiations have begun on a proposed U.N. resolution that aims to ensure that the Russian plan is implemented quickly. Russia has already disputed key elements of the plan, including language allowing the use of force against Syria.



U.S. President Barack Obama, in a speech Tuesday, referred to the Russian proposal and Syria's reported agreement as "encouraging signs," but also stressed that the U.S. military would be ready to respond if diplomacy fails.

Under the deal, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government would surrender its chemical weapons to the United Nations to have them destroyed, and the United States would freeze its plans for a military strike.

Mr. Obama asked Congress to postpone a vote authorizing military action against Syria to let the diplomatic initiatives play out.

Iran and China, which have opposed outside military intervention in Syria, expressed optimism about the diplomatic path on Wednesday.

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