According to reports, Syria wants to join the chemical weapons ban treaty and is ready to give other countries and the United Nations access to its arsenal, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Tuesday.
We want to join the chemical weapons ban treaty: Syria
"We are ready to state where the chemical weapons are, to halt production of chemical weapons and show these installations to representatives of Russia, other countries and the UN," Muallem said in a statement sent to Russia's Interfax news agency.
"We want to join the chemical weapons ban treaty. We will respect our commitments in relation to the treaty, including providing information on these weapons." The statement followed Russia's surprise proposal to secure Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.
"Our backing of the Russian initiative shows our willingness to give up possession of all chemical weapons," added Muallem at the the end of a two-day visit to Moscow.
"The purpose of a strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons"
Moscow has called on Washington to rule out military action against Syria to allow its plan to go ahead, saying it would be difficult to constrain Syria to disarm while under threat of such action.
America is not the world's policeman: Barack Obama
Seizing a Russian initiative to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, President Barack Obama asked Congress to postpone a vote to authorise the use of force as the US seeks a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis.
But at the same time in a nationally-televised address from the White House Tuesday night, Obama also made a forceful case for why the US must retaliate against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons if diplomacy fails.
"If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons," he said. "The purpose of a strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons and make clear to the world we will not tolerate their use."
Though he has "a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions," the US and its military will "be in position to respond if diplomacy fails" to address the crisis in Syria, Obama said as he pledged to join two closest US allies, France and UK to negotiate with Russia over a UN resolution on a Syria solution.
Targeted military strikes against Syria would serve several purposes, including deterring Syria's government from using chemical weapons, making it more difficult for them to do so and making clear to the world that the use of chemical weapons won't be tolerated, he said.
The use of chemical weapons last month in Syria "is not only a violation of international law, it's also a danger to our security," Obama said in the address which was originally intended to win over a skeptical Congress and a war-weary American public largely opposed to getting involved in yet another conflict.
While he "resisted calls for military action because we can't resolve someone else's civil war with force," the situation "profoundly changed" with the Aug 21 chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus, Obama said.
"No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria," he said - and that Bashar Assad's regime was responsible for their use.
"America is not the world's policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong," Obama acknowledged.
"But when with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act," he said. "That's what makes America different. That's what makes us exceptional."
Obama's speech came at the end of a day of hectic political activity as he agreed to join diplomatic efforts to work out a UN deal after discussions with French President François Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
John Kerry to meet Russian Foreign Minister
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Geneva on Thursday to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as US, French and British diplomats started working with Russia and China at the UN on a Security Council resolution "requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control."
Putin on Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin says that a plan for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile will only work if the United States agrees not to use force.
Putin told reporters today that the plan "can work, only in the event that we hear that the American side and those who support the USA, in this sense, reject the use of force."
President Barack Obama has thrown his support behind a French resolution to the UN Security Council even as he pushes the idea of US airstrikes against Assad's regime if that effort fails.
The resolution would demand that Syria open its chemical weapons program to inspection, place it under international control, and ultimately dismantle it.
(With agencies inputs)