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Putin says he, Obama discussed control over Syrian chemical arms

MOSCOW- President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he and US President Barack Obama had agreed at talks last week to step up efforts to safeguard Syria's chemical weapons and discussed placing the arsenal under international control.
Putin's remarks may deepen speculation about the genesis of a Russian proposal for Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control in order to avert possible US military strikes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the proposal on Monday, hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry said Syria could avoid a US strike by surrendering all its chemical weapons within a week.
Although Kerry's comments indicated he was not making a serious offer, the White House and the Kremlin both said the Russian proposal was not entirely new and that Obama and Putin had discussed the principles behind it in the past.
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