Russian plan on Syria was no accident, says US official
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US administration has hit back against sneers it had accidentally stumbled on a way to avert military strikes on Syria, saying ideas for securing chemical weapons had been percolating for months.
US officials appeared to have been caught by surprise on Monday, when during a press conference in London Secretary of State John Kerry floated the idea that strikes could be avoided if the regime handed over its chemical weapons to international control.
Within hours his comments had ignited a storm, winning growing global backing and prompting the Russians to say they would draw up proper proposals with Syrian support.
Pundits wondered whether it had been a gaffe by Mr Kerry, or part of a deliberate ploy by President Barack Obama's administration to avert a potentially damaging vote in the Congress on unpopular calls for US military action.