US strike on Syria on hold, says Obama. Will the Russian diplomacy work?

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Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and  Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC. Photo http://www.state.gov/
Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC. Photo: www.state.gov

Assad pledges to submit documents to UN

Assad  told Rossiya-24 that Syria would submit documents to the United Nations for an agreement governing the handover of its chemical arsenal, state-run Russian news agency RIA reported on 12 September.

Rebel infighting

Infighting between rebel forces in Syria has killed at least 50 in clashes in the country’s northeast, according to the latest update from the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights .

Putin’s op-ed piece

Putin’s wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times warning against US militarism. Speaking “directly to the American people and their political leaders”, Putin said any military action on Syria without the UN Security Council’s approval “would constitute an act of aggression.” “It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

Assad on accepting the Russian proposal

Bashar al-Assad has insisted his government was not pushed into agreeing to hand over its chemical weapons by the threat of US air strikes.
“Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision,” Interfax quoted Assad as telling Russia’s state-run Rossiya-24 channel.

Rebel leadership

The rebel leadership in Syria rejected the Russian proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.
In a video statement Salim Idriss, head of the rebel Supreme Military Council, said: “We announce our definitive rejection of the Russian initiative to place chemical weapons under international custody.”

Obama’s Stand

Obama said the proposal could be a potential breakthrough but remained skeptical Syria would follow through. He expressed his support for U.N. Security Council talks aimed at a diplomatic breakthrough that would allow Syria’s government to avoid U.S. missile strikes if it surrenders its chemical weapons.

Syrian Response

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem stated that his country welcomed the Russian proposal, which called for Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and for the weapons to be destroyed.

Russian Proposal

Russia has put forward a proposal to prevent military action against Syria – it has asked the Syrian government to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and then have them destroyed.

Diplomatic Solution

A possible diplomatic solution to avoid a U.S. military strike arose when Syria welcomed a suggestion to move all of the country’s chemical weapons under international control.

India’s Stand

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that India has consistently called upon all sides to abjure violence, so that conditions can be created for an inclusive political dialogue leading to a comprehensive political solution, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. There can be no military solution to this conflict. He said that India continues to support the proposed ‘International Conference on Syria’ (Geneva-II) for bringing the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiating table.
US President will also have to announce a diplomatic plan for Syria within 30 days of the authorisation.

Israel’s missile test

A joint missile defence test carried out by the US and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean on 3 September escalated tensions across the region and triggered a military alert out of Russia.
Oil prices spiked briefly on world markets when Moscow issued a bulletin saying it had detected two “ballistic” objects flying over the Mediterranean.
Israeli officials later confirmed the unannounced exercise, saying that it had fired an unarmed “decoy missile” over the sea to test its Arrow 3 missile defence system as part of the joint exercise with the US.

The Draft Resolution

Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey answered questions at the first congressional hearing on President Barack Obama’s request for authorisation to launch a military strike against Syria.

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they reached an agreement on a draft resolution for the use of military force in Syria, paving the way for a vote in the Senate.

The draft resolution, announced following the hearing, gives Obama “the authority he needs to deploy force” while assuring that any action would be “narrow and focussed, limited in time”, and that ground forces would not be used for combat operations.

The resolution, which limits the authorisation to 60 days with an option for an additional 30 days, was revised to address some of the concerns expressed during the hearing.

There would be no American combat troops on the ground, though rescue missions will be permitted. The US President will also have to announce a diplomatic plan for Syria within 30 days of the authorisation.

International Voices

Syria
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem stated that his country welcomed the Russian proposal, which called for Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and for the weapons to be destroyed

France
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius claims the UN report on last month’s chemical weapons will be published on Monday and implicate the Assad regime.

United Kingdom
Members of the British Parliament voted against taking part in military action against Syria.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for a tough UN resolution to hold Syria to its commitment to hand over its chemical weapons.

Speaking in the Commons, Hague said he was wary of Syria’s promises and that dealing with the Assad’s regime’s chemical stockpiles posed “immense practical difficulties”.

Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian plan for Syria’s chemical weapons to be put under international control is a “good step towards a peaceful solution in the Syrian crisis”.

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