Russia seizes Kerry Syria slip

John Kerry has told Russia that his comments about Syria averting a US strike by surrendering chemical weapons were rhetorical and not supposed to be a proposal, however, Obama said the comments were 'potentially positive.'

Russia weapon plan 'should boost Congress vote'

US Senator John McCain and Lindsey Graham said the possibility of Syrian President Assad giving up control of his chemical weapons should make members of Congress more willing to vote for the authorization for the use of military force. In a joint statement, the paid said:

Congress should proceed with its plans to consider and vote on the authorization for use of force that is now before the Senate, and today's development should make members of Congress more willing to vote yes.

Russia's diplomatic sleight of hand wrong-foots US

Russia's surprise diplomatic offer has wrong-footed President Obama over his plans for missile strikes against Syria.

Syria has apparently agreed to hand over its chemical weapons after an off the cuff remark from John Kerry.

Tonight America called such a handover an important step.

ITV News International Editor Bill Neely reports from Syria on Russia's diplomatic sleight of hand:

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US 'will not play games' but will consider a serious proposal

John Kerry told Russian foreign minister that he had serious scepticism when the Russians offered to explore the idea of Syria putting its chemical weapon stockpile under international control.

The US Secretary of State also stressed to Sergei Lavrov that the idea would not delay the Obama administration's efforts to use force in Syria.

Kerry also told Lavrov that US will not "play games" but if a serious proposal was made that America would consider it.

Kerry comments were 'rhetorical and not a proposal'

John Kerry made the comments while speaking in London.
John Kerry made the comments while speaking in London. Credit: David Bebber/The Times/PA Wire

US Secretary of State John Kerry has told Russia that his comments about Syria averting a US strike by surrendering chemical weapons were rhetorical.

Mr Kerry made the comments while speaking in London.

Speaking to Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov Mr Kerry said that his comments were not meant to be a proposal.

Read more: US to take a 'hard look' at Russian Syria proposal

Clinton urges Congress to support Syria action

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed President Barack Obama's attempts to seek military action against Syria and urged Congress to support him.

In a White House event about wildlife trafficking, Clinton diverted from the subject to comment on efforts to pressure Syria.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It would be an "important step" if the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad immediately ceded control of chemical weapons, she said.

Read more: Russia urges Syria on weapons

"The Assad regime's inhumane use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order," Clinton said.

Russian deal on Syria could be a game changer

by - Former International Editor

At the start of a crucial week extraordinary developments, President Assad starting an early PR campaign with a direct appeal to the American people in a rare interview with American TV.

In it he said there wasn't a single shred of evidence that his army had used poison gas and there was a veiled warning.

A Free Syrian Army fighter stands in a shooting position in Raqqa province.
A Free Syrian Army fighter stands in a shooting position in Raqqa province. Credit: Reuters

Watch: Assad interview warns US of retaliation for any military strike

But the most extraordinary development was in Moscow today where Russia proposed a plan, with Syria apparently accepting, to put its chemical weapon stocks under international control and then destroy them

Then Syria would sign up to an international agreement with is hasn't signed

There's no detail yet: who the international inspectors would be, when it would happen, where it would happen.

But it could be a game changer and could get President Obama off the hook of military strikes.

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UN chief: Security Council suffering from 'embarrassing paralysis'

The Secretary-General has accused the Security Council of suffering from an "embarrassing paralysis" on Syria and called on the international community to overcome the deadlock.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Credit: PA Wire

Ban Ki-Moon says he is considering asking the UN Security Council to demand Syria immediately transfer chemical weapons to safe sites where they can be destroyed.

Syria 'welcomes' Russia's chemical weapons proposal

Syria has welcomed Russia's proposal that its chemical weapons are placed under international control, according to Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem who is in Moscow for talks.

Praising the Kremlin for seeking to "prevent American aggression" Moualem stopped short of saying explicitly that President Bashar al-Assad's government accepted it.Moualem said:

"The Syrian Arab Republic welcomes the Russian initiative, motivated by the Syrian leadership's concern for the lives of our citizens and the security of our country, and motivated by our confidence in the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is attempting to prevent American aggression."

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