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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-11

Russia criticised France on Tuesday over its proposal for a UN Security Council resolution holding the Syrian government responsible for the use of chemical weapons, calling the draft “unacceptable”.

Russia opposes the French proposal for a UN Security Council resolution holding the Syrian government responsible for the alleged use of chemical weapons, saying it was “unacceptable”.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, that Moscow would propose its own UN draft declaration supporting its initiative to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said his government was prepared to halt the production of chemical weapons and disclose its arsenal, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.

The UN Security Council said that it would hold an emergency closed-door meeting on Syria on Tuesday afternoon at Russia’s request but the talks were later cancelled.

Political wrangling

Russia’s proposal has already been the subject of much political wrangling among world powers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Tuesday that his country’s initiative would fail unless the United States and its allies backtracked on taking military action in Syria.

US President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande, however, have agreed to keep “all options open”.

"The heads of state highlighted their preference for a diplomatic solution but they also underlined the importance of keeping all options open," Hollande's office said in a statement, after the two leaders spoke by telephone.

As if to prove this point, senior Obama administration officials urged Congress on Tuesday to keep the pressure on Syria over its chemical weapons arsenal while the US explores a diplomatic alternative to military strikes.

Congress had been scheduled to vote on a measure authorising military force against Syria this week, but the vote was delayed after Russia came forward with its proposal on Syria’s chemical weapons.

A group of both Republican and Democratic US senators has begun drafting a modified resolution on the use of military force that would give the United Nations time to take control of Syria’s chemical weapons.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-09-10


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