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Kerry and Lavrov to Discuss Deal on Syria

Security Council meeting on Syria postponed, as Obama decides to send Kerry to discuss Russia's proposal on Syria's chemical weapons.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/11/2013, 12:44 AM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Reuters

President Barack Obama will send Secretary of State John Kerry to Switzerland this week to discuss a possible deal on Syria's chemical weapons with Russia's foreign minister, a State Department official told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

The official said Kerry would meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Thursday to try to reach a deal on a UN Security Council resolution that would require Syria to give up its chemical weapons or face consequences.

The official was not authorized to discuss the mission publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, a UN Security Council meeting on Syria which was planned for Tuesday was postponed at the request of Russia, which had called the talks, council envoys told AFP.

No reason was given for calling off the closed talks among the 15 council members. "The meeting has been called off until further notice," a council diplomat was quoted as having said.

Kerry’s meeting with Lavrov and the cancellation of the Security Council meeting mark the latest developments that have occurred since Russia said on Monday it would push Syria to get rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles.

Syrian President Al-Bashar Assad’s regime has agreed in principle to the arrangement.

Also on Tuesday, Obama asked Congress to delay votes on authorizing military strikes against Syria in order to give the Russian proposal a chance.

On Monday, in six interviews he gave to American media outlets on Syria, Obama said the Russian plan a “potentially positive development”, but also said he was skeptical that the Syrians would cooperate given their past behavior.