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Syria Backs Russian Plan for Weapons

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The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent dismantling to avoid a possible U.S. military strike.

Prime Minister Wael al-Halki said the government backed the initiative in order "to spare Syrian blood."

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France will submit a draft resolution to the United Nation Security Council that would include a condemnation of the August 21 chemical weapons attack and call for those behind it to be punished at the International Criminal Court.



"It's on the acceptance of these precise conditions that we will judge the credibility of the intentions expressed yesterday. The Syrian people have suffered too much. We will not fall for delaying maneuvers therefore we need rapid results."





The Security Council has been unable to agree on previous measures sanctioning Syria, with Russia and China using their veto power to block three previous resolutions against President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Russian officials are working with Syria to prepare their own "concrete" plan, and expect to present a proposal to other nations soon.

Iran, China and the Arab League all said Tuesday they welcomed the Russian proposal. But Syria's main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Coalition, dismissed the idea as a maneuver for Mr. Assad to escape punishment, saying he would use the step to "buy more time to kill more Syrians."

The developments came hours before U.S. President Barack Obama plans to deliver a major televised address on the Syrian crisis.

Mr. Obama has called the Russian plan to put Syria's stockpile under international control a potential breakthrough, but stressed that it would not have materialized without the threat of military action.

In a series of interviews late Monday, he stressed that he "overwhelmingly" prefers diplomacy in deterring Syria's use of chemical weapons.

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