Syria FM Muallem to head delegation to UN

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem will head the country's delegation to the annual UN General Assembly, the pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper said on Monday.

Muallem will address the United Nations on September 30, the newspaper said, adding that the delegation, including Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad, will leave soon for New York.

On Sunday, the Syrian opposition National Coalition said a delegation headed by group president Ahmad Jarba had arrived in New York ahead of the annual meeting.

The assembly opens after the United States and Russia hammered out a deal under which Syria will turn over its chemical weapons for destruction.

On Saturday, Damascus handed over the remaining details of its chemical arsenal to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is overseeing the deal.

The agreement warded off planned US military action against Damascus in response to an August 21 chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed hundreds of people.

But the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are still haggling over the wording of a resolution that would enshrine the deal.

Britain, France and the United States want a tough resolution that would allow for sanctions or the use of force if Syria fails to implement the deal.

But Russia, a staunch ally of the Syrian regime, opposes any mention of the use of force and has accused Washington of blackmailing it to win a tough resolution on Syria.