by Yuan Zhenyu
BEIJING, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov meet in Geneva Thursday to discuss matters concerning Syria's chemical weapons.
The dynamics of the Syria crisis took a positive turn this week, with concerned parties accepting a Russian proposal that Damascus place its chemical weapons arsenal under international control.
What's necessary now is that the international community brings the Syria issue back within the framework of the UN Security Council, where parties can seek consensus and formulate a proper approach.
As the top U.S. and Russia diplomats are about to hold talks, the five permanent members of the UNSC - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - are also meeting to discuss arrangements for international control over Syria's chemical arms.
But none of these efforts will work if the West is still threatening to strike Syria. As Russian President Vladimir Putin said, placing Syrian chemical weapons under international control makes sense "only if we hear that the U.S. side ... drops the idea of using force."
Therefore, it's important to make sure any potential UN resolution will safeguard Syria's sovereignty and security, and leave no "backdoor" open for outside military intervention.
Instead of mounting pressure on the Syrian government or pointing fingers without substantial evidence, the resolution should help ease the current tensions.
After ensuring the issue is back on the right track, the world needs to immediately start drafting a feasible plan to account for, transport and eventually dismantle Syria's chemical weapons.
Handling its chemical arms will pose serious technical, logistic and security challenges to the war-torn country. And the on-going battle between the government and opposition forces will further complicate the process, even raising the concern of these weapons falling into the wrong hands.
In a broader sense, the world needs to take the opportunity to renew political and diplomatic efforts on the overall Syria issue.
For starters, now is the time to push for an international peace conference to bring the warring sides back to the negotiating table, which is the only way to secure a comprehensive and lasting solution to the more than two-year conflict.
Putin pleas for caution in NYT op-ed
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The New York Times on Wednesday evening published an op-ed piece on its website by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who argued for caution in the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, while urging the U.S. to work through the mechanism of the United Nations for a peaceful resolution to the issue. Full story
Russian proposal on Syria welcomed by more countries
BEIJING, Sept.12 (Xinhua) -- More countries are responding positively to a Russian initiative to put Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles under international control to avert a possible U.S. strike on the Arab country.
"Iraq welcomes the Russian initiative that calls on the Syrian government to hand over their stockpiles of chemical weapons for international supervision and control as an international measure of disarmament," an Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement said Wednesday. Full story
UN security council hold talks on Syria's chemical weapon crisis
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council met here on Wednesday to discuss Syria's chemical weapons crisis, but no deal was reached, diplomatic sources said.
Each member set out their position, with Russia blocking the move to mount pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Full story
Commentary: Obama's turn on Syria reflects changing times
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday evening embraced the Russian proposal to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control, opting for a way out of the bind he found himself in after his push for Congressional authorization of a military strike yielded little result.
The sharp turn from military action to multilateral diplomacy signifies the changing times in which Americans are ready to look inward. Full story