Tensions ease after Syria’s vow over chemical weapons yet UN deal hits problems

Oliver Smith
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SYRIA accepted a Russian proposal to give up chemical weapons and win a reprieve from US military strikes yesterday, but serious divisions between Russia and the US could still block a UN resolution securing the deal.

The White House said it was determined to push ahead with a congressional resolution authorising force, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said the weapons plan would only succeed if Washington and its allies rule out military action.

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem said in a statement shown on Russian state television yesterday that Syria was committed to the Russian initiative.

“We want to join the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons. We are ready to observe our obligations in accordance with that convention, including providing all information about these weapons,” Moualem said.

US secretary of state John Kerry said Washington believes the proposal must be endorsed by the UN Security Council “in order to have the confidence that this has the force it ought to have”.

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