Syrian President Bashar Assad (Photo by the Associated Press)
As President Obama prepared to address the nation Tuesday night, a Russian proposal that Syria place its chemical arms under international control triggered a flurry of diplomatic moves. Here's what you need to know:
• Syria Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Damascus is ready to sign an international agreement banning chemical weapons and pledged to open its storage sites and provide full disclosure immediately.
• Syria is one of only five countries - including North Korea, Angola, Egypt and South Sudan - that has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention that was drawn up in 1993.
• Obama spoke with the leaders of France and the United Kingdom and agreed to explore the Russian proposal, senior White House officials said.
• Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, testifying before a House committee, expressed cautious support for the Russian proposal, but said it must not be used as a diplomatic stalling tactic.
• Russian President Vladimir Putin said any agreement over Syria would work only if the United States and its allies renounce the use of force against Damascus.
• The Arab League said it backs the Russian proposal.
• France said it would put a resolution before the United Nations Security Council appealing to Syria to make public details of its chemical weapons program. Putin said he opposed the language of the French proposed resolution to the U.N. Security Council.