Though plenty remain skeptical that Syria will in fact hand over its chemical weapons, today began with more forward movement: Syria's foreign minister says his government has "agreed to the Russian initiative" to hand over its chemical weapons for subsequent dismantling in order to "uproot US aggression." The AP calls this apparent acceptance even "more definitive" than yesterday's. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today said that Russia is consulting Ban Ki-moon and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as it drafts the plan.
- France, for its part, intends to put that plan to the test: It will tonight present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council so that the world can "judge the credibility of the intentions that were expressed yesterday," per its foreign minister, the Guardian and New York Times report. (As Reuters puts it, France is "turning a Russian idea into a full-blown diplomatic proposal.")
- Among the "nonnegotiable" elements of France's resolution, per the Guardian: All chemical weapons would have to promptly be turned over for destruction, and those behind the Aug. 21 attack must be brought before the International Criminal Court. The resolution would notably invoke Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which makes it binding and militarily enforceable. The Wall Street Journal notes, however, that Russia previously refused to get on board with a similar, secret Syria proposal because it was also made under Chapter 7. Russia and China have also previously pushed back against ICC involvement.
- Syria's main opposition group is not on board with Russia's plan. The Guardian reports that the Syrian National Coalition today called the proposal "a political strategy that aims to stall for more time, which will allow the regime to cause more death and destruction." But the plan did gain another supporter today, reports Reuters: China.
- Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch today released a 22-page report that places the blame for the Aug. 21 chemical attack at the regime's feet. It notes "Human Rights Watch and arms experts ... have not documented Syrian opposition forces to be in the possession of the 140mm and 330mm rockets used in the attack or their associated launchers."
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