The U.N. Security Council has canceled a meeting on a resolution aimed at securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.
The closed consultations had been scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday. Australian Ambassador Gary Guinlan says in a Twitter message that the meeting was canceled "following withdrawal of the request for consultations."
Council diplomats said Russia asked for the meeting and then withdrew its request. There were no other details.
The Syrian government has accepted a proposal from Russia, its most powerful ally, to give up its chemical weapons stockpile. France has announced that it plans to introduce a Security Council resolution to ensure international verification of the disarmament.
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Syria says it has accepted Russia's proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent dismantling.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday after meeting with Russian parliament speaker that his government quickly agreed to the Russian initiative to "derail the U.S. aggression."
Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is now working with Syria to prepare a detailed plan of action, which will be presented shortly.
Lavrov said that Russia will then be ready to finalize the plan together with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
President Barack Obama said Monday the Russian proposal could be "potentially a significant breakthrough," but he remained skeptical that Syria would follow through.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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