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.
The president "asked for some time to work things out -- a matter of days into next week," Sen. Dick Durbin said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the body's schedule was driven by developments and not by an artificial timeline.
"It's important that we do this well, not quickly," he said. "We'll see what's going on. You know, the last 24 hours has had some remarkable changes in what people are talking about. Let's see what else happens."
And Russia withdrew its request for an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on the Syrian crisis that had been set for Tuesday, a U.N. diplomat said.
Russia -- which has been a key player in efforts to have Syria give up its chemical weapons -- dropped its request due to "changing circumstances," according to the diplomat.
Syria said it is willing to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said before departing Moscow.
"We are ready to fully cooperate in realizing the initiative," he told reporters, according to a CNN translation.
Earlier Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said it deemed as "unacceptable" a French proposal -- also backed by some U.S. lawmakers -- asking the Security Council to declare Syria responsible for an August 21 chemical attack that U.S. officials say killed more than 1,400 people.
According to Syrian state TV, Syria on Tuesday accepted Russia's proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control a day after Secretary of State John Kerry floated the idea in what appeared to be an off-the-cuff comment suggesting it would be the only way for Syria to avoid a punishing Western military strike.
Moallem said the country was ready to disclose the location of its chemical weapons, halt production and show facilities to representatives of Russia, the United Nations and other states.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia is working on a "workable, clear, specific plan" and said it would be presented soon.
Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Kerry said the United States would look forward to the Russian plan but will demand that it be brought forward and implemented quickly.
"We're waiting for that proposal, but we're not waiting for long," he said.
And despite the apparently reduced urgency from the White House, congressional allies said Congress needs to back up the diplomats with a show of force.
"We're going to continue to work on moving forward with this but keeping pronounced, and I pronounce it now, the credible threat of our doing something about this attack is going to remain," Reid said.
Lavrov told his French counterpart on Tuesday that his country wouldn't stand for any resolution blaming the Syrian regime for the use of chemical weapons.
Syria is a longtime Russian ally, and Russian officials have argued, as have Syrian officials, that rebel forces could have staged the attack.
France is proposing to make such a request, as are some U.S. lawmakers who are working to draft an alternative resolution that would call for a U.N. resolution blaming the attack on the Syrian government and set a deadline for it to hand over its chemical weapons.
Otherwise, the draft Senate proposal would authorize use of military force punishing Syria.
Moallem said Tuesday that his country had agreed to the Russian proposal after what Interfax quoted him as calling "a very fruitful round of talks" with his Russian counterpart, Lavrov, on Monday.
Despite the lack of details, the idea was gaining traction around the world.
On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed support for the concept. Tuesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said it would safeguard stability in the region. Syrian ally Iran welcomed the proposal, and Germany expressed interest.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France will not accept delays in the transfer.
"We need quick results," Fabius said.
European Union Foreign Affairs Secretary Catherine Ashton said she supported the French plan to bring the issue to the Security Council, saying the proposal "now needs to be fully worked up as quickly as possible."
Even Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, a proponent of a military strike on Syria and robust aid to the rebels, said the idea was worth exploring.
"I'm very, very skeptical," he said on CNN's "New Day." "But the fact is, you can't pass up this opportunity -- if it is one."
McCain is one of the key players crafting the Senate resolution, which would be an alternative to the use-of-force resolution proposed by the administration.
It would allow the president to deploy