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Russian and US delegations discussing in Geneva Russia's plan on Syria

September 13, 2013, 10:17 UTC+3

Russian initiative to establish international control over chemical weapons of Damascus may be the last chance to avoid a military intervention against Assad's regime

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MOSCOW, September 13 (Itar-Tass) - Talks between Russian and US delegations have been launched in Geneva on the situation around the Syrian chemical weapons. They are discussing Russia’s proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, to which Damascus has agreed. Opening the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the talks are aimed at preventing a military strike against Syria by the United States and its allies. The US secretary of state for his part made ·it clear that if diplomats fail to achieve results, the White House still would resort to force. Newspapers call the negotiations fateful.

The talks that have been launched in Geneva have attracted worldwide attention, the Kommersant daily writes. Whether the United States attacks Syria largely depends on their results. The Russian initiative to establish international control over chemical weapons of Damascus is perhaps the last chance to avoid a military intervention against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, according to the publication. In this connection, it will hardly be an exaggeration to call the Geneva talks fateful.

According to the Kommersant daily, the American diplomacy head at the talks is accompanied by 28 senior officials of the Department of State, the Pentagon and the US National Security Council. The Russian delegation is at least as large. Both sides have brought in Geneva chemical weapons experts.

According to a Russian diplomatic source of Kommersant, Moscow proposes to solve the Syrian chemical weapons problem in several stages: first - Syria would join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), second - Damascus would declare the sites of storage and production of chemical weapons, third - would admit OPCW inspectors to the country, fourth - would decide together with the inspectors, who and how would destroy chemical weapons.

It is no exaggeration to say that the whole world is closely watching these Geneva consultations, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper writes. Just a week ago, it seemed that Russian- American relations had cooled so that it was the time to talk about their crisis. Moscow and Washington have had diametrically opposed stances on the critical situation around Syria. The sides have been exchanging more and more eloquent barbs, and Kerry even defiantly refused to come to St. Petersburg for the Group of Twenty (G20) summit, the newspaper recalls.

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