Russia and France are working on separate plans for bringing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, after the idea emerged as a way to address the threat of chemical attacks in the country’s civil war and potentially avoid U.S military strikes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday officials are preparing a “concrete” plan along with Syria, and expect to present their proposal to other nations soon.
U.S. President Barack Obama has called the Russian plan to put Syria’s stockpile under international control a potential breakthrough and stressed that he “overwhelmingly” prefers diplomacy in deterring Syria’s use of chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem endorsed the Russian plan, saying it would be a way to avoid what he called U.S. aggression. Iran, another Syrian ally, said Tuesday it welcomed the idea.
France agreed. Its foreign minister is set to propose a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Syria to disclose its chemical weapons program and give it up to the international community to be dismantled.
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.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday the international community should consider the idea as long as it helps reduce tensions in Syria, maintain peace in the region and aid in bringing a political resolution.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose parliament rejected the idea of military intervention, welcomed the initiative, but also said the world needs to make sure it is not a “distraction tactic.”
(Source: Voice of America News)