| Syria: Russian plan for destruction of chemical weapons leaked!

Syria: Russian plan for destruction of chemical weapons leaked ~ Roland Oliphant, Moscow, The Telegraph.

The Russian proposals, leaked to a Russian newspaper on Thursday, lay out a four step plan to be discussed at today’s meeting in Geneva between the US Secretary of State and his Russian counterpart.

Under the plans, Syria would first join the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Damascus would then make a declaration of its chemical weapons production and storage facilities, and a team of inspectors would be dispatched to the sites. Finally, agreement would be reached on how the weapons would be destroyed, Kommersant reported citing a Russian diplomatic source.

Exactly who would carry out the decommissioning of the country’s stocks of Sarin, VX and mustard gas is not yet clear, but the diplomat raised the possibility of a joint US-Russian effort as part of the Nunn-Lugar programme, a post-cold war arrangement for securing and decommissioning Soviet-era WMD stockpiles.

On Wednesday night Russian news agencies said the Kremlin had “passed the United States a plan for fulfilling the initiative on international control of Syrian chemical weapons”.

It said that the plan would be “considered” at today’s meeting between Mr Lavrov and Mr Kerry, but the foreign ministry in Moscow declined to say anything about its contents at the time.

The details released this morning include no timetable and make no mention of sanctions or other measures should Syria fail to comply – key demands laid out in rival US-French proposals on Wednesday and likely flash points at tonight’s talks between Mr Kerry and Mr Lavrov

President Barack Obama has said the apparent diplomatic breakthrough achieved earlier this week when Russia suggested that Syria surrender its chemical arsenal to international control was only achieved in the face of a credible threat of force.

But President Vladimir Putin has ruled out coercive measures and said on Tuesday that the plan would only work if the US took the threat of force off the table.

The diplomat said the plan had actually been drawn up by Tuesday, but that France had asked for more time to produce its own proposals.

Details of a Russian plan leading to the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, potentially under joint US and Russian oversight, have been leaked ahead of crunch talks between John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is to hold talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry 
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