Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that a plan for the Syria regime under President Bashar al-Assad to give up chemical weapons would need a United Nations Security Council resolution to go forward. Kerry was speaking in a Google+ hangout.
Earlier Tuesday, Russia had rejected a French plan to enforce a possible agreement with a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would include a military option with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, telling the French such a proposal would be “unacceptable.”
“We need a full resolution from the Security Council in order to have the confidence that this has the force that it ought to have,” Kerry said. “That’s our belief, and obviously, right now, the Russians are in a slightly different place on that. We’ll have to see where we get to. Obviously, I’m not going to negotiate this out in public.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin also told Russian state television station Russia Today that for a proposal to work, the United States would have to back off the threat of military force.
“Certainly, this is all reasonable, it will function and will work out, only if the U.S. and those who support it on this issue pledge to renounce the use of force, because it is difficult to make any country — Syria or any other country in the world — to unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration,” Putin said.
Kerry said in London Monday that Assad could avoid a U.S. attack by “turning over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week — turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow the full and total accounting.”
The Russian foreign minister subsequently made that offer to Syria, and the Syrian foreign minister reportedly welcomed the idea. On Monday, the State Department originally tried to walk back Kerry’s statement, with spokeswoman Marie Harf calling it a “rhetorical statement about a scenario that we think is highly unlikely” at a press briefing.