September 11, 2013

Diplomats move on 2 fronts on Syria weapons

The White House and world leaders are trying to draw up a viable plan to get Syria's chemical weapons under control, while also trying to negotiate a peace in the civil war.

The Associated Press

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Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken walks to an underground facility to brief lawmakers on the situation in Syria, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Last night, President Obama delivered a nationally televised address on the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war and why he wants to punish the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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A Syrian refugee sits on the ground at a temporary refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese Town of Al-Faour, Bekaa valley near the border with Syria, on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. Lebanon is a tiny country that shares a porous border with Syria, and has seen cross-border shelling, sectarian clashes and car bombings in recent months related to the civil war raging next door. Key international players were moving on two diplomatic fronts Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 to try to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, and a fresh effort appeared to be underway to get the government and opposition to peace talks. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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Lavrov immediately rejected any resolution under Chapter 7 and proposed a weaker presidential statement instead, a move rejected by the U.S., Britain and France.

A French official close to President Francois Hollande said Russia objected not only to making the resolution militarily enforceable, but also to blaming the alleged chemical attack on the Syrian government and demanding that those responsible be taken before the International Criminal Court, the world's permanent war crimes tribunal.

Lavrov said Moscow had already handed over to the U.S. its plan for putting Syria's chemical arsenal under international control, according to comments carried by the Inter-fax news agency. He gave no details, but said he would discuss the proposal with Kerry on Thursday.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Kerry is also scheduled to meet Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, and Lavrov was expected to do so as well, U.N. officials said.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country is currently on the Security Council, told Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio that he expects the report from the chemical weapons inspectors who investigated the Aug. 21 attack next Monday. The U.N.'s Haq said he could not confirm the date for the report which will address whether chemical weapons were used — not who was responsible.


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