By Justin Sink
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Tuesday that his country would be willing to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and open its chemical weapons sites to the United Nations.
“We are ready to fulfill our obligations in compliance with this treaty, including through the provision of information about our chemical weapons. We will open our storage sites and cease production. We are ready to open these facilities to Russia, other countries and the United Nations.”
“We intend to give up chemical weapons altogether,” he added.
The concessions from Muallem came even as a potential peace deal appeared in jeopardy. Russian President Vladimir Putin told RT earlier Tuesday that the plan to have Syria turn over its chemical weapons "will work out only" if the United States and its allies "pledge to renounce the use of force" against the country.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that it would not support a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would force Syria to turn over its chemical weapons arsenal.
That posturing drew an immediate rebuke from Washington, where Secretary of State John Kerry told a Google+ roundtable that the U.S. needed "a full resolution from the Security Council in order to have confidence that this has the force that it has to have."
Kerry added that a resolution must include "consequences if games are played and somebody tries to undermine this."
On Capitol Hill, President Obama asked senators to slow their deliberations over an authorization to use force in Syria to give the administration time to evaluate the proposal, which grew out of bilateral talks between Moscow and Damascus.
But in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Kerry stressed the administration did not want Syria's offer to function simply as a stalling tactic.
"We're waiting for that proposal, but we're not waiting for long," he said.
Kerry said during his Web chat that he expected Russia to send details of the plan during the "course of the day" on Tuesday.