The Corner

U.S. and Russia Push Syria to Give Up Chemical Weapons

This morning, both Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov separately called for Syrian president Bashar Assad to turn over its chemical weapons to the international community.

When asked if there were any steps Assad could take to avoid an American military strike, Kerry responded, “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.”

Earlier this morning, Lavrov called for international talks in order to avert a military strike in Syria. Later, Lavrov told reporters that Russia would push Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international control if Assad’s doing so would prevent the U.S. from intervening.

Soon after both Kerry and Lavrov called on Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international control, Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem said he welcomed the initiative, BBC reports. Lavrov reportedly made this offer during talks with Muallem.

U.S. officials later said that Kerry was merely making a “rhetorical argument” rather than a serious offer. The U.S. has not made any indication whether it will, in fact, promise not to militarily intervene if Assad turns over his chemical-weapons stores.

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