|Syria welcomes Russia’s offer to put its chemical weapons under intl control||
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has welcomed Russia’s call to hand control over its chemical weapons to the international community.
“Syria Arab Republic welcomes Russia’s initiative, based on the Syrian’s government care about the lives of our people and security of our country,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said in response to the statement by his Russian counterpart.
Russia had previously urged Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent destruction to avert a possible military strike.
“We are calling on the Syrian authorities not only agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier. “We have passed our offer to [Syrian Foreign Minister] Muallem and hope to receive a fast and positive answer,” he added.
Russia’s statement comes shortly after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s comment that the Syrian President “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community” to avoid a military strike on the country.
"Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week - turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it), but he isn't about to do it and it can't be done," Kerry said.
Following Kerry’s statement, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman clarified that “Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons”.
Earlier in the day, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said that Damascus was ready for "full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression."
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