By Elise Labott, reporting from the United Nations
In a tiny room at the United Nations under a portrait of Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, flanked by a team of men in dark suits, welcomed Secretary of State John Kerry into his meeting room.
Kerry was flanked by a team of women: U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Victoria Nuland.
A highly-anticipated 45-minute meeting went twice that long and was described by Kerry as "very constructive."
One senior State Department official said the two men had pencils in hand as they marked up a text of a U.N. resolution on dismantling Syria's chemical weapons.
By Laura Smith-Spark and Tom Cohen, CNN
Russia and the United States announced Saturday that they have reached a groundbreaking deal on a framework to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, after talks in Switzerland.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stood side-by-side as they set out a series of steps the Syria government must follow.
Syria must submit within one week a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons stockpile, Kerry said, and international inspectors must be on the ground no later than November.
By Jamie Crawford
Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Geneva on Thursday for a high-stakes meeting with his Russian counterpart that could conceivably tip the balance on whether the United States strikes Syria militarily over alleged chemical weapons use.
Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss the specifics of Moscow's plan that would put Syria's chemical stockpiles under international control, described as a difficult but momentous step that would nullify the threat of weapons of mass destruction and diffuse the crisis.
In his address to the nation on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said he was willing to test the seriousness and feasibility of the proposal before resuming his push for a vote in Congress on whether to authorize force to punish the Syrian regime over an alleged poison gas attack last month the United States says killed more than 1,400 people.
Kerry will take the lead in dealing with the Russians, Obama said.FULL STORY
(CNN) - As a Russian proposal to strip Syria of its chemical weapons began to take shape, the White House eased off the gas on Tuesday in its drive for congressional approval to strike the Middle Eastern country.
President Barack Obama asked Senate Democrats to delay voting on authorizing military action in Syria while the diplomatic process works itself out, according to senators in a meeting with Obama.
A White House official told CNN that during his meeting on the hill, the president said that his administration would spend the days ahead pursuing this diplomatic option with the Russians and U.S. allies at the United Nations.
By Jamie Crawford
Russia urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday to put his nation's chemical weapons stockpile under international control as part of an effort to head off a possible military strike from the United States.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said his country would urge Syria to take the action if it would avert a military response from the United States. There was no immediate reaction from the Syrian government.
Lavrov's comments came the same day Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to endorse a similar course of action.
Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week," Kerry said during a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. "But he isn't about to do it and it can't be done obviously."
By Jill Dougherty
Putting to rest doubts that it might be cancelled, the State Department announced Tuesday that senior United States and Russian officials will hold a meeting on Friday in Washington to discuss issues leading up to September’s G-20 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with their Russian counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Shoigu, at the State Department.
Washington’s anger over Russia’s granting temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, as well as disagreements between the two countries on other issues, including Syria, led the White House to question whether the meeting was worth holding.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the officials will discuss the New Start nuclear treaty, Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear program and efforts to end the conflict in Syria.
The White House is also reviewing whether President Barack Obama will still hold a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That meeting would be held around the G-20 in Moscow.
In North Korea Friday, CNN’s told, two medium-range missiles are in their launchers, loaded and ready to go.
The White House says it won’t be surprised if Kim Jong Un orders those missiles to be fired as a test of his military power.
The communist leader is sending all sorts of signals about his next move and when it might happen, including an ominous new warning to foreign diplomats.
To give us the global view on this unfolding story, our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.
By CNN's Jill Dougherty, Jamie Crawford and Gregory Wallace
Secretary of State John Kerry's Tuesday call to his Russian counterpart has gone unanswered for nearly a week after North Korea tested a nuclear device.
Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and top diplomats with the three other countries – South Korea, China and Japan - that had been in negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program. But Kerry was not connected to Lavrov, who was in Africa for a conference and had "a very overloaded work schedule," according to Russian government spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. He said that the United States did not make additional attempts to call Lavrov.
Russia is an ally of North Korea and a member of the six nations that have held talks over the North Korean nuclear program. The U.S. and North Korea also find themselves on opposite sides of the situation in Syria and have sparred over Russian restrictions on adoptions between the two countries.
By Jill Dougherty
Russia’s foreign minister is criticizing President Barack Obama’s decision to recognize the Syrian opposition, saying “the U.S. apparently has decided to bet solely on the armed victory of this national coalition.”
Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow was “somewhat surprised” by Obama’s statement that the U.S. recognizes the Syrian opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, in opposition to the Assad regime.
“None of the U.S. decisions here should be of any surprise to the Russian Federation. We have been very clear at all levels, publicly and privately, that we would continue to look for ways to support the political opposition in Syria,” a Senior State Department offical told CNN.
Announcing his decision in an interview Tuesday with ABC’s Barbara Walters, Obama said, "We've made a decision that the Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population” to recognize them. But the Russian foreign minister argues that U.S. recognition “contradicts the agreements in the Geneva communiqué, which presume beginning an all-Syrian dialogue among representatives named by the government, on the one hand, and the opposition, on the other.”
By Jill Dougherty reporting from Dublin, Ireland
Amid reports that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing to use chemical weapons, the United States is making a new diplomatic push to end the conflict that has killed at least 40,000 people.
In Dublin for a European security meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and take part in a three-way meting with Lavrov and U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
"They had an exchange on how extremely seriously we need to be in continuing to send messages about the red lines and unacceptability of use or loss of control of chemical weapons," a senior State Department official told CNN after Clinton's first meeting with Lavrov in Dublin. "Secretary Clinton thanked Minister Lavrov for his strong public statements on that."
Russia has blocked action against al-Assad at the United Nations, but diplomats say that Moscow, which has insisted there should be no "regime change" in Syria, now increasingly doubts that al-Assad can survive in power. Brahimi has not yet proposed a specific plan to try to end the fighting, but Clinton and Lavrov did work one out in June in Geneva.