Assad Regime Says Will Stop Producing Chemical Weapons, Sign Global Convention

Syria's FM says regime ready to cooperate fully to implement Russia's proposal to put stockpile under international control; Kerry: U.S. believes Russian plan must be endorsed by UNSC.

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Syria's foreign minister says President Bashar Assad's regime will declare its chemical weapons arsenal and sign the chemical weapons convention.

Walid al-Moallem also says Syria is ready to cooperate fully to implement a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons arsenal under international control and it will stop producing chemical weapons.

He added that Syria will also place chemical weapons locations in the hands of representatives of Russia, "other countries" and the United Nations.

He spoke Tuesday exclusively to the Al Mayadeen TV station.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the plan for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons cache will only work if the United States agrees not to use force.

Putin told reporters that the plan "can work, only in the event that we hear that the American side and those who support the U.S.A, in this sense, reject the use of force."

President Barack Obama has thrown his support behind a French resolution to the UN Security Council even as he pushes the idea of U.S. airstrikes against Assad's regime if that effort fails.

The resolution would demand that Syria open its chemical weapons program to inspection, place it under international control, and ultimately dismantle it.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is expecting to receive ideas about how to secure Syria's arsenal from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday. The two are scheduled to meet in Geneva on Thursday, to discuss the issue.

"He is sending those to us. They'll be coming informally in the course of the day. We'll have an opportunity to review them," Kerry said in a Google+ hangout interview.

Washington believes the Russian proposal must be endorsed by the UNSC "in order to have the confidence that this has the force it ought to have," said Kerry, adding that the Russians did not share that view.

Kerry acknowledged that military aid the United States has promised to send to moderate anti-government rebels in Syria had reached them as quickly as hoped but that "some items" were now arriving. He declined to say what items had reached groups fighting the Syrian government.

A protester outside the White House. Credit: AP
UN chemical weapons inspectors in Syria. Credit: AP

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