US secretary of state John Kerry has arrived in Geneva to meet Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov as the UN tries to forge an international plan to disarm the Syrian government of its chemical weapons Al Jazeera reported.
Lavrov and Kerry will discuss efforts to agree a UN resolution on the issue, as well as the practicalities of finding, removing and destroying chemical stockpiles during a civil war in which more than 100,000 people have already died.
However, the diplomats are expected to clash on whether a UN resolution should contain the threat of force - something to which Russia is deeply opposed.
Al Jazeera's diplomatic editor James Bays, reporting from the UN in New York, said he understood both ministers would be accompanied by chemical weapons experts at the meeting in the Swiss city
The meeting comes a day after the permanent members of the Security Council - the US, UK, China, Russia and France - met to discuss the content of draft resolutions proposed by Russia and France. The discussion "helped to pave the way for tomorrow's meeting" in Geneva, one council diplomat told the AP news agency, but an agreement was not reached.
France's draft states that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces should be condemned for their use of chemical weapons on August 21 in Damascus, and threatens force if they do not comply with disarmament.
Russia insists there is no evidence to prove Assad used chemical weapons, and does not want any threat of force in a resolution.
Al Jazeera's Bays said the French resolution was highly contentious, but was "simply the negotiating position of the West, things now move to Geneva".
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has been told that UN chemical weapons inspectors will report their findings on the chemical attacks to the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, early next week.
Last week, US President Barack Obama threatened military action against Syrian army targets over the chemical attack, and sought congressional support.
On Wednesday, he announced that he had asked the US Congress to postpone a vote on authorising force in order to explore the hastily proposed Russian plan to decommission Assad's chemical weapons.
However, Obama said that he still retained to right to order military strikes, adding: "I've ordered our military to maintain their current posture ... to respond if diplomacy fails."
The Washington Post meanwhile reported on Thursday that CIA operatives had begun funelling weapons and equipment to rebel fighters in the last fortnight, under a plan signed off by the president earlier this year.
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