Kerry tells Russia his Syria comments were not meant as a proposal

Mon Sep 9, 2013 4:15pm EDT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during his joint news conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London September 9, 2013. REUTERS/Alastair Grant/pool

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during his joint news conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London September 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alastair Grant/pool

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(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov his comments about Syria averting a U.S. military strike by turning over its chemical weapons within a week were rhetorical and not meant to be a proposal, a senior U.S. Official said on Monday.

Kerry also voiced "serious skepticism" when Lavrov offered to explore the idea, saying that the United States would take a look at any serious proposal, but this could not be a reason to slow the White House's efforts to secure congressional authorization to use force against Syria, the official told reporters traveling back from London with Kerry.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; editing by Jackie Frank)

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