Russia has urged Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and then have them destroyed, in an attempt to avoid US military strikes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the offer was made during talks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem.
Walid Muallem said he welcomed the initiative.
The US is threatening strikes accusing the Syrian regime of war crimes, though Damascus denies the claims.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Europe to garner support for the military action, has once again warned that taking no action is riskier than launching strikes.
When asked at a news conference whether there was anything Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could do to avoid military action, John Kerry replied that he could hand over his entire stockpile of chemical weapons within the next week.
US officials subsequently clarified that John Kerry was making a “rhetorical argument” rather than a serious offer.
However, Sergei Lavrov later said he had urged Walid Muallem during talks in Moscow to “not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on their subsequent destruction”.
Sergei Lavrov said he had also told Walid Muallem that Syria should then fully join the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Walid Muallem told reporters through an interpreter that Syria welcomed the Russian initiative.
He praised Russia for “attempting to prevent American aggression against our people”.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the destruction of the weapons would be a “huge step forward”, but warned that it should not be used as a “distraction tactic”.
The Russians have been the main international ally of Bashar al-Assad’s regime throughout Syria’s two-and-a-half-year civil war.
Russia has blocked three resolutions against Syria in the UN Security Council, and has dismissed evidence linking Bashar al-Assad’s forces to a chemical attack in Damascus on August 21.
The US says Syrian government forces used poison gas to kill 1,429 people in the attack.
Bashar al-Assad’s government blames the attack on rebels fighting to overthrow him, in a conflict that the UN says has claimed some 100,000 lives.