Just hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an off-hand comment about how Syria could avert a military strike by turning over its chemical weapons program, Russia's foreign minister is proposing that the Assad regime do just that.
Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Russia will push Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control.
"If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus," Lavrov said.
The plan could challenge Kerry over comments he made during an earlier press conference in London. Kerry said early Monday morning that if Bashar Assad wanted to defuse the crisis, "he could turn every single bit of his chemical weapons over to the international community" within a week.
But Kerry claimed that Assad "isn't about to do it" -- and an aide suggested the secretary was not being serious.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki clarified that Kerry "was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used."