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Syria Backs Russian Plan for Weapons

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 Nations Security Council that would condemn 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."





French officials said their draft resolution was designed to make sure the Russian proposal would allow military action if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is uncooperative, and force his government to act quickly.

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 Russian officials are working with Syria to prepare a "concrete" plan, and expect to present a proposal to other nations soon.

A White House official said the U.S. will begin discussions with the U.N. Security Council on Russia's proposal, which Mr. Obama discussed with French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday.

Iran, China and the Arab League have all said they welcomed the Russian plan. But Syria's main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Coalition, dismissed the idea as a largely meaningless measure that would allow Mr. Assad free rein to fight on with conventional weapons.

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

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