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Syria crisis: Assad confirms chemical weapons handover Syria crisis: Assad confirms chemical weapons plan
(35 minutes later)
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on Russian TV to confirm that his country's chemical weapons will be placed under international control.Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on Russian TV to confirm that his country's chemical weapons will be placed under international control.
Mr Assad told Rossiya 24 the move was as a result of a Russian initiative and not the threat of US military action.Mr Assad told Rossiya 24 the move was as a result of a Russian initiative and not the threat of US military action.
The comments came as the Russian and US foreign ministers prepared for key talks in Geneva.The comments came as the Russian and US foreign ministers prepared for key talks in Geneva.
The US accuses the Syrian regime of killing hundreds in a poison-gas attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21 August.The US accuses the Syrian regime of killing hundreds in a poison-gas attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21 August.
The government denies the allegation, blaming rebels for the attack.The government denies the allegation, blaming rebels for the attack.
'Chance for peace''Chance for peace'
Mr Assad told Rossiya 24, the state-run news channel: "Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision."Mr Assad told Rossiya 24, the state-run news channel: "Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision."
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier outlined three main phases of Moscow's proposal:Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier outlined three main phases of Moscow's proposal:
In his TV interview, Mr Assad confirmed Syria would send documents to the UN as part of the process of signing the chemical weapons convention.
Mr Lavrov, completing a visit to Kazakhstan, said: "I am sure that there is a chance for peace in Syria. We cannot let it slip away."Mr Lavrov, completing a visit to Kazakhstan, said: "I am sure that there is a chance for peace in Syria. We cannot let it slip away."
He did not mention the destruction of the weapons, which is thought to be a sticking point in Moscow's negotiations with Damascus.He did not mention the destruction of the weapons, which is thought to be a sticking point in Moscow's negotiations with Damascus.
Mr Lavrov is due to discuss the plan in Geneva with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who will first hold talks with UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.Mr Lavrov is due to discuss the plan in Geneva with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who will first hold talks with UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
US officials have described Russia's plan as "doable but difficult".
Officials travelling with Mr Kerry said they wanted a rapid agreement with the Russians on principles for the process, including a demand for Syria to give a quick, complete and public declaration of its stockpile.
The US postponed plans to launch military strikes on Syria after Russia proposed the disarmament earlier this week.