Putin: No Syria deal unless US renounces air strikes on Assad

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that a 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.

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"Certainly, this is all reasonable, it will function and will work out, only if the US 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 told Russian television network RT

Separately, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it would not support French plans to introduce a U.N. Security Council resolution that would force Syria to turn over its chemical weapons arsenal. 

The draft proposal, which also condemned Syria for using chemical weapons, was declared "unacceptable" by Russia, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The developments suggest that there remain serious sticking points with Moscow and Damascus as Western leaders attempt to chart out a path that would both prevent military action and secure Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.

The White House had said earlier Tuesday that it would "explore seriously the viability of the Russian proposal to put all Syrian chemical weapons and related materials fully under international control in order to ensure their verifiable and enforceable destruction."

But President Obama, who has already expressed skepticism about Syria's seriousness in offering up its chemical weapons cache, could balk at a diplomatic solution pioneered solely by the Kremlin, a longtime ally of the Assad regime.

Separately, a group of senators on Capitol Hill are drafting legislation that requires the United Nations to pass a resolution stating that Syrian President Bashar Assad gassed his own people. It would also call on the U.N. to remove all of Syria’s chemical weapons by a certain date.

The resolution would authorize U.S. military action if those goals are not met, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

But the requirements could potentially scuttle a deal if Russia holds firm on its insistence that the U.S. drop its threat of military action and stop pursuing a U.N. resolution.

The Syrian Coalition, which opposes the Assad regime, has already denounced the Russian proposal as "political strategy that aims to stall for more time," according to CNN.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting on Syria Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m.