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EU wants to see if Russia Syria proposal is workable

The European Union on Tuesday cautiously welcomed a Russian plan to head off military action against Syria by destroying the regime’s chemical weapons, saying it was waiting to see details of the proposal.

The EU executive, the European Commission, also announced the immediate release of 58 million euros (77 million dollars) destined to help refugees from the Syrian conflict in Lebanon.

Asked to comment on the Russia-Syria chemical weapons proposal, Commission spokesman Michael Mann said: “We are studying the proposal with interest. We welcome any proposal which can reduce the violence in Syria.”

But “we need to first see what exactly is the proposal and whether it is serious and can be implemented,” he added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the Syrian regime to hand over control of its chemical weapons and have them destroyed.

The Commission also said it was sending 40 million euros to Lebanon through UN agencies and 18 million to help Lebanon provide services such as water and sanitation.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees last week said more than two million Syrians have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011.

More than 720,000 Syrian refugees were registered or being registered in Lebanon, a country of some 4.5 million people.

Around 52 percent of the refugee population is aged under 17.

The EU aid is part of a 400-million-euro package announced in June to help address the humanitarian crisis.