Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech in Damascus, Syria, on June 3.
France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks at a press meeting at the Quai d' Orsay, in Paris on Tuesday.(Photo: Jacques Brinon, AP)
(USA TODAY) The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to turn over its chemical weapons to international control, Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday in a statement.
"Yesterday [Monday] we held a round of very fruitful negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and he put forward an initiative regarding chemical weapons. Already in the evening we accepted Russia's initiative," Walid Muallem said, according to the Russian news agency and RT.com.
The report was also carried by the Associated Press and the Russian news agency Interfax reports.
The statement came as France said it would put before the United Nations Security Council a resolution appealing to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to make public the details of its chemical weapons program. The Arab League also announced that it would back the Russian proposal, AFP reports.
The announcement was made in Paris by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
It was not immediately clear whether the terms of an agreement accepted by Syria would track with the French proposal, but it was a sign of further diplomatic progress on the issue.
Fabius said the terms of the resolution will call for an "extremely serious" response were Syria to violate the conditions set by the resolution. He said the process - under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter - will start later Tuesday.
France is a permanent member of the Security Council. The other permanent members are the United States, United Kingdom, China and Russia. Permanent members have the power to veto resolutions.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said his country is working with Syria on a concrete plan for putting its chemical weapons under international control. Syria has welcomed that initiative.
Reuters reported that the idea was first discussed between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of last week's Group of 20 summit.
The development comes as support for President Obama's call for military intervention in Syria appears to be on the decline.
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Kim Hjelmgaard and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY