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September 10th, 2013
10:02 AM ET

Obama Considers Option Where Syrians Turn Over All Chemical Weapons

As President Obama prepares to address the nation Tuesday night, it had seemed a military strike was the only option on the table for the U.S. to stand against the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Now what had sounded like a misguided comment that Secretary of State John Kerry made at a news conference, may have turned into a viable alternative diplomatic option.

President Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Monday, "If we can accomplish this limited goal without taking military action that would be my preference."

Kerry proclaimed, "He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn't about to do it and it can't be done obviously."

While a U.S.  official quickly chalked up Kerry's statement as "a rhetorical argument" Russia saw a real game plan in what some considered a gaffe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "We're calling on the Syrian authorities to not only agree on putting chemical weapons storage under international control, but also for its further destruction."

Syria responded just an hour later, their foreign minister Walid Moallem saying, "I declare that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes Russia's initiative."

On Tuesday morning, the minister added his country had agreed to the Russian proposal after what Interfax quoted him as calling a "very fruitful round of talks" with Russia's Lavrov a day earlier.

International relations expert Aaron David Miller outlines the details and skepticism many feel.

"You'd have to have a cease-fire. You'd have to have a prolonged period where UN weapons inspectors would come in and it seems to me almost unimaginable."

For now, the Senate has delayed their vote from Wednesday on Syria to consider this new Russian proposal.

President Obama is scheduled to speak to the nation at 9 p.m ET Tuesday night. CNN will carry that speech live.

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