Syria today agreed with the Russian proposal to place its chemical weapons stocks under international control to "uproot US aggression", hours after President Barack Obama said he would "absolutely" put on hold any military strike on the country if it does so.
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his country quickly "agreed to the Russian initiative". He said Syria did so to "uproot US aggression."
"Yesterday, we had a round of very fruitful negotiations with (Russian Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov and he came forward with an initiative on chemical weapons," Muallem said after a meeting with Russian parliament (Duma) speaker Sergei Naryshkin in Moscow.
Yesterday, Moallem welcomed Russia's initiative.
"I carefully listened to (Russian foreign minister) Sergei Lavrov's statement about it. In connection with this, I note that Syria welcomes the Russian initiative based on the Syrian leadership's concern about the lives of our nationals and the security of our country," Muallem had said.
The proposal put forward by Russia - a key ally of Syria - is a dramatic shift after America was gearing up for weeks to lauch attacks against the embattled regime.
Earlier in the day, Russia announced that it was holding talks with the Bashar al-Assad regime to formulate a "workable, precise and concrete" plan for the smooth transfer of the chemical weapons.
"We (Russia) are currently working on preparing a workable, precise and concrete plan and for this there are literally right now, in these minutes, contacts with the Syrian side," Lavrov said today.
"And we expect to present this plan soon and we will be ready to work on it with the UN secretary general, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with the participation of members of the UN Security Council," he said.
Meanwhile in separate interviews with six US news channels, Obama said, "If Syrian President gives up his chemical weapons, a military strike would absolutely be on pause." He also called the Russian proposal a "potentially significant breakthrough."
"Absolutely, if, in fact, that happened," Obama said when asked if the military strike was on pause if Assad yields control of