Syria needs to provide a detailed inventory of its chemical weapons arsenal within a week to avoid possible military action, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday at the end of three days of talks here with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
The Syrian government must fully cooperate with the international community on the dismantling of its chemical weapons stocks, and could face sanctions - including military action - under Article 7 of the U.N. Charter if it does not, Kerry said.
"But any action must be approved by the Security Council," Lavrov said at the same press conference.
Russia, the United States and fellow permanent U.N. Security Council members China, Britain and France have veto power over any proposed resolution.
Lavrov added that Russia and the United States were committed to scheduling a new international peace conference on Syria's two-year civil war as soon as possible, probably in October.
Lavrov and Kerry wrapped up three days of talks Saturday on a Moscow-backed plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to place his country's chemical weapons under international control, provided the United States stops threatening Damascus with military action.
Amid popular opposition to any military action, President Barack Obama said in an address to the nation Tuesday night that he had asked Congress to postpone a vote on authorizing a strike on Syria to give the Russian diplomatic proposal a chance to succeed.
The United States and Syria's opposition accuse Assad's forces of killing more than 1,400 people on Aug. 21 in a chemical weapons attack near Damascus, and Washington said late last month that it would carry out a "limited" strike on Syria in retaliation.
Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, say the chemical strike was the work of Syrian rebels.
Syria's civil war has claimed some 100,000 lives since March 2011. EFE