U.S. to take ‘hard look’ at Russian proposal for Syria to turn over chemical weapons

The White House said Monday it will “take a hard look” at Russia’s proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, but questioned whether Syria would comply.

“We would welcome a decision by Syria to give up its chemical weapons,” said Tony Blinken, a White House national security official. But he added that the Syrian regime has resisted giving up its chemical weapons for more than 20 years, and has refused to sign an international treaty banning their use.

Mr. Blinken said the administration only learned of Russia’s proposal through the media.

“We haven’t had a chance to look at it yet,” he said.

Russia proposed Monday to broker a deal in which Syria would place its chemical weapons under international control and monitoring. The offer came as President Obama is seeking congressional approval to launch missile strikes against the Syrian regime as punishment for a chemical-weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 civilians.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the only reason that Russia is making the offer is due to the pressure being exerted by the administration for military action.

Russia has consistently blocked action by the U.N. Security Council to punish the Syrian regime, a longtime ally dating back to the Cold War era.

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