Syria positive about giving up chemical weapons

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media after his talks with Syrian counterpart Walid al-Mouallem, unseen, in Moscow on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. The Russian and Syrian foreign ministers say they will push for the return of United Nations inspectors to Syria to continue their probe into the use of chemical weapons. Lavrov said after Monday's talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem that Moscow will continue to promote a peaceful settlement and may try to convene a gathering of all Syrian opposition figures who are interested in peaceful settlement. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

MOSCOW (AP) – Syria says it welcomes Russia’s appeal for Syria to place its chemical arsenals under international control, and then destroy them, in order to avert a U.S. military strike.

But the Syrians are not offering a time frame for doing so, or any other specifics.

A statement by Syria’s foreign minister today appeared to mark that country’s first official acknowledgement that it possesses chemical weapons. And it reflects what appears to be an attempt by Syrian President Bashar Assad to avoid a U.S. military attack.

The statement came a few hours after Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad could resolve the crisis by surrendering control of “every single bit” of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.

Also today, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Syria to immediately agree to transfer chemical weapons and chemical precursors to a safe place within the country, for destruction by international teams.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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