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Russia cancels emergency UN meeting on Syria

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Victims of chemical attacks in Jawbar, Syria, on Aug. 21. (Source: US Senate Committee on Intelligence/MGN) Victims of chemical attacks in Jawbar, Syria, on Aug. 21. (Source: US Senate Committee on Intelligence/MGN)

(RNN) –Syrian officials stated the country is ready to disclose its chemical weapons stash.

According to CNN, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem announced they would reveal locations of the weapons and halt any production. Also, he said representatives from the United Nations, Russia and other states to inspect its facilities.

Russia, who initiated the weapons removal with the Middle East country, withdrew a request for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, CNN reported. A U.N. diplomat said the cancellation was due to "changing circumstances."

Secretary of State John Kerry has scheduled to meet Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland, with Russia's foreign minister.

According to a White House official, President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francios Hollande have agreed to discuss Russia's proposal to secure Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

The talks will begin in earnest at the United Nations on Tuesday and will include a discussion on a potential U.N. Security Council resolution.

A Russian news agency reported Tuesday that Syria would surrender its chemical weapons to international control, according to Russia's foreign minister.

"Yesterday [Monday] we held a round of very fruitful negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Moallem said, "and he put forward an initiative regarding chemical weapons. Already in the evening we accepted Russia's initiative."

Lavrov said Russia was working with Syria to prepare a plan of action that would be presented shortly, according to the Associated Press. He said they would then finalize the plan with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the AP reported.

Sen. John McCain said earlier Tuesday on CBS This Morning that Russia's proposal to have Syria turn over their chemical weapons needs time to "play out."

McCain, who has been an advocate for missile strikes, said diplomacy should not be ignored.

According to the AP, McCain will amend the Senate resolution to allow for Syria to surrender the chemical weapons - which Assad has never publicly acknowledged that he used.

Kerry made an off-script remark in London earlier this week, saying if Syria turned over their chemical weapons within the week - "fine." Kerry later said he was speaking rhetorically and didn't believe Syria would turn over its weapons.

Russia, however, seized on the comments and began working with Syria to have the country turn over their chemical weapons to them to be destroyed.

On Aug. 30, Kerry presented an unclassified report, saying chemical weapons were used to kill 1,429 Syrians, including 426 children.

Allegations of who had used chemical weapons were leveled at all sides: the Syrian military, the rebels and al-Qaeda fighters.

Kerry said the unclassified report debunked the theory that rebels used chemical weapons on themselves in an attempt to involve the U.S. in the conflict.

Americans oppose Syria action

Prior to the foreign minister's statement, President Barack Obama had planned to speak to the American public to make the case for a limited military strike against Syria. Polls showed most were staunchly against any action by the U.S.

Gallup and Pew Research Center found more than half of the people polled said they were opposed to military action in Syria, despite the chemical weapons attacks.

A Gallup poll, conducted from Sept. 3 to 4, indicated 51 percent of Americans opposed taking action against Syria. Only 36 percent were in favor of military action, while 13 percent were unsure.

Gallup showed that, when compared to support for past conflicts, public support for Obama's proposal on Syria is low. It was "on track to be among the lowest for any intervention Gallup has asked about in the last 20 years."

Results from the Pew Research Center/USA Today poll showed similar results with regard to military action against Syria; 63 percent said they oppose Syrian air strikes, up from the 48 percent in a poll a few days earlier. Those in favor of military action were 28 percent, slightly down from the previous 29 percent. And only 9 percent were still undecided, down significantly from 29 percent.

Pew went in depth with its questions, including asking who should have final authority on the Syria decision. Of those polled, 61 percent said Congress should have the final say in Syria. Only 30 percent believed the president should have the final say, with 9 percent unsure.

When broken down by political affiliation, 75 percent of Republicans, along with 64 percent of independents, said Congress should have the final say on Syria action. Only 45 percent of Democrats believed the decision should be left to Congress.

One thing most poll responders agree upon is that the U.S. has no good options when it comes to dealing with the situation in Syria.

A majority of those who were in favor of air strikes believed the U.S. must do so in order to "show that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable." Even so, many believed air strikes will likely "make things in the Middle East worse."

Additionally, the Pew Research Center/USA Today poll showed Obama's approval rating has dropped, and his foreign policy rating has hit an all-time low. Obama's overall job approval was at 44 percent for the first time in more than a year. His foreign policy rating was at 33 percent.

Only 9 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of independents approved of how Obama was handling foreign policy, while 62 percent of Democrats approved.

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