Syria conflict: US back-pedals.. issues warning on chemicals plan


The US has said it will wait for details of a Russian proposal on Syrian chemical weapons but warned it would not permit "delays and avoidance".
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the plan must be "swift and verifiable" and warned its implementation would be "exceedingly difficult".
Syria has said it accepts the Russian plan to put the chemical weapons under international control.
The US, UK and France will table a UN Security Council resolution later.
France earlier said the resolution would be strong and call for the control and subsequent destruction of the chemical weapons.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the resolution would threaten "extremely serious" consequences if Syria breached its conditions.
The US alleges that Syrian government forces carried out a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on 21 August, killing 1,429 people.
The Syrian government blames the attack on rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, in a conflict that the UN says has claimed some 100,000 lives.
'Hard look'
Mr Kerry said that if the UN were used as the vehicle for pursuing the Russian plan, it must not become a debating society.

Chapter 7 of UN Charter

·         Action in response to threats to peace, breaches of peace and acts of aggression
·         Article 41 enables Security Council to decide measures not involving armed force
·         Can suspend economic and diplomatic relations as well as rail, sea and other communications
·         If Article 41 measures are inadequate, Article 42 enables Security Council to take action by air, sea or land forces for international peace and security
Source: UN
He told a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee the US was waiting for details of the Russian proposal, "but we're not waiting for long".
He said: "President Obama will take a hard look at it. But it has to be swift, it has to be real, it has to be verifiable.
"We have to show Syria, Russia and the world we are not going to fall for stalling tactics."
Mr Kerry urged Congress to stand by Mr Obama, saying the president was not asking for a declaration of war, simply for the power to show that the US "means what we say".
There have been few details so far of Russia's plan, but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in Moscow that it was "preparing a concrete proposal which will be presented to all interested sides, including the US... a workable, specific, concrete plan".
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who is in Moscow, was quoted by Russian news agency Interfax as saying: "We held a very fruitful round of talks with [Mr Lavrov] yesterday and he proposed an initiative relating to chemical weapons. And in the evening, we agreed to the Russian initiative."
This would "remove the grounds for American aggression", he said.
The US Senate had been expected to vote this week on a resolution authorising military force, but the Russian plan has led to a postponement.



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