Russia withdraws request for emergency UN Syria meeting
"Following withdrawal of the request for consultations, Security Council meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. (2000 GMT) will not proceed," Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan, president of the 15-nation council this month, announced on his Twitter feed @AustraliaUN.
The meeting was expected to focus on a Russian plan to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
A UN Security Council meeting on Syria planned for 2000 GMT on Tuesday was postponed at the request of Russia, which had called the talks, council envoys said.
No reason was given for calling off the closed talks among the 15 council members.
"The meeting has been called off until further notice," said a council diplomat.
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency closed-door meeting on Syria at 4:00 p.m. EDT (20:00 GMT) on Tuesday at Russia's request, the UN press office said.
The meeting is expected to focus on a Russian plan to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
Russia's ambassador to France said on Tuesday Moscow was ready to negotiate a UN resolution that foresees international control of Syria's chemical weapons, but ruled out a recourse to use force to impose it.
"There first needs to be a resolution that puts Syria's chemical weapons under international control, which Syria has already accepted, and if there is something lacking we can come back to the UN Security council to negotiate a new resolution," Alexandre Orlov told French radio RTL.
Orlov said he had doubts over France's intentions by calling for a Chapter VII resolution of the U.N. charter which could enable the use of force.
Earlier on Tuesday Russia told France that a proposal to adopt a UN Security Council resolution holding the Syrian government responsible for the possible use of chemical weapons was "unacceptable".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his French counterpart that Moscow would propose a U.N. draft declaration supporting its initiative to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss Moscow's proposal for removing Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again on Tuesday afternoon, Kerry told a congressional hearing.
"We need to explore this. We're looking at it on our side. The Russians are supposed to make a proposal to us," Kerry told a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, adding that he would talk to Lavrov after the session.
Kerry told lawmakers the Obama administration was debating the feasibility of Russia's plan and whether it would meet the US goal of ending Syria's ability to use chemical weapons.
The elaboration of a plan for placing Syrian chemical weapons under international control does not make the verification of every report on the use of chemical weapons and the return of UN experts to Syria unnecessary, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"This work does not make the verification of all reports on the use of chemical weapons in Syria unnecessary," he said after negotiations with Libyan counterpart Muhammad Abdelaziz.
"UN experts should return to Syria and fully implement their mandate before presenting a report to the UN Security Council, which would consider the whole body of evidence, including testimonies of numerous experts, public organizations, religious leaders and others," Lavrov said.
UN experts should return to Syria and fully implement their mandate before presenting a report to the UN Security Council - Sergei Lavrov
Russia is working on a feasible plan to establish international control over Syria's chemical weapons and plans to announce it soon, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"The Russian side has focused its efforts on developing a feasible, clear and concrete plan and is continuing to communicate with the Syrian side right now," he said at a press conference after his talks with his Libyan counterpart Muhammad Abdelaziz.
"We are going to announce this plan soon and we will be ready to fine-tune and discuss it with the UN secretary general, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN Security Council," the Russian foreign minister said.
Russia is preparing a "workable and clear" plan to carry out its proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"We expect to present this plan in the near future and we are ready to rework and refine it together with the UN secretary general, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and with members of the UN Security Council," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.
The proposal for putting Syria's chemical weapons under international control is not quite Russian and it comes from Russian-American contacts and the US secretary of state's statement, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"The proposal for establishing international control over Syria's chemical weapons is not quite Russian. It derives from exchanges we had with American colleagues and from yesterday's statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who said that a strike could be avoided if this problem is solved," Lavrov said at a joint press conference with Libyan Foreign Minister Muhammad Abdelaziz.
Russia has always been trying to take advantage of the slightest chance for a peaceful settlement of any given crisis, he said.
"Therefore, we made use of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Mualem's stay in Moscow and asked him to consider this possibility," Lavrov said.
The idea is to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control with a prospect of reaching an agreement on their complete elimination and Syria's joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said.
League of Arab States (LAS) ministerial council chairman, Libyan Foreign Minister Muhammad Abdelaziz has positively responded to the initiative advocating international control over chemical weapons in Syria.
"This is a very good initiative and it deserves attention," he told the press after negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
Tripoli is ready to cooperate with Russia on the mutual extradition of citizens, Libyan Foreign Minister Muhammad Abdelaziz said.
"We welcome the preparedness of Russia for active dialogue on the mutual extradition of our citizens," he told the press after negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"A question concerning two Russian citizens in Libya was posed at today's press conference. We also have Libyan citizens in Russia. We are absolutely open to and ready for a constructive dialogue on this subject," the Libyan minister said.
Voice of Russia, AFP, Interfax, dpa, Reuters