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As Syria Bows Before UN, US says 'Not Enough'

Foreign minister says Syria will admit chemical weapons stockpiles and sign international convention

Jon Queally, staff writer

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks to the media in Moscow, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Syria's foreign minister said his country welcomes Russia's proposal for it to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem declared on Tuesday that in addition to publicly acknowledging its chemical weapons stockpiles, Syria will also formally sign the international convention against such weapons, fully comply with a Russian proposal that would place its arsenal under international control, and vow to foreswear any future development of similar arms.

In a day of rapid developments over the issue, Syria—whose President Bashar al-Assad has up until now repeatedly refused to even admit that Syria actually possessed such weapons—has pivoted sharply in the last twenty-four hours following Russia's offer to help broker a deal at the UN that could help avert a military attack by U.S. military forces.

Despite what appears on the surface as a rather dramatic capitulation to US and Western demands, Secretary of State John Kerry responded immediately to Syria's announcement by saying that the move was not enough and that Syria would need to "do more" to prove itself before war could be ruled out.

The new prospect of such a deal, however, remained stuck after its first round of discussion at the U.N. Tuesday. According to Al-Jazeera, "The main sticking point was that France wanted to invoke Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, making any resolution legally binding and enforceable by military action."

As the Associated Press reports:


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Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plan can only work if "the American side and those who support the U.S.A, in this sense, reject the use of force."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his French counterpart Laurent Fabius that it is unacceptable for the resolution to cite Chapter 7, his ministry said in a statement.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in turn, said the U.S. rejects a Russian suggestion that the U.N. endorsement come in the form of a non-binding statement from the Security Council president.

The U.S. has to have a full resolution — one that entails "consequences if games are played and somebody tries to undermine this," he said.

Amid all this, President Obama is scheduled to speak to the nation in a televised address Tuesday night at 9:00 pm EST.


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