Update: During an address to the nation Tuesday night, President Barack Obama addressed concerns about a possible strike in Syria and asked Congress to postpone a vote on an attack.
The president said that targeted military strikes against Syria would serve several purposes, including deterring Syria's government from using chemical weapons, making it more difficult for them to do so and making clear to the world that the use of chemical weapons won't be tolerated.
"I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria," President Barack Obama said Tuesday night. He also vowed not to "pursue an open-ended action" in the war-torn country.
(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.
The president "asked for some time to work things out -- a matter of days into next week," Sen. Dick Durbin said.
In the meantime, Obama will work with members of Congress on authorizing language for a military strike because doing so will further strengthen our diplomatic efforts, the White House official 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."
Sources: Important meeting in Geneva
On Thursday, according to senior State Department officials, Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland.
The officials told CNN the two will begin to discuss a possible deal on Syria's chemical weapons.
Kerry will bring a team of experts with him for the talks, which are expected to take place in several sessions over two days. Negotiations may not be concluded in Geneva during the first set of talks, the officials cautioned.
The officials said a final deal -- whenever it is reached -- would be taken to the United Nations and presented in a Security Council resolution.
Senate briefing called off
As the sun began to set on Washington on Tuesday, Reid announced on the Senate floor that he had canceled a briefing for all senators scheduled for Wednesday.
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 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.
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.
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 U.S. force against Syria if the United Nations doesn't pass a resolution that condemns the attack, says it was "committed by the Syrian regime" and sets a deadline to hand over the weapons.
The senators have not decided whether the resolution would include limits on the use of force, but there has been no appetite in Congress or within the administration to send American troops to Syria.
The Russian proposal surfaced publicly on Monday, when Kerry -- responding to a reporter asking what Syria could do to stop a U.S. attack -- suggested that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week."
"He isn't about to do it, and it can't be done, obviously," Kerry added.
His spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, sought to roll back the comments, saying the secretary was simply responding to a "hypothetical."
But it turns out Russian President Vladimir Putin brought the idea up to Obama last week, a senior administration official said Monday night.
Kerry and Lavrov have also been discussing ways for Moscow to get involved for more than a year, the official said. But U.S. officials didn't realize how serious Russia was until Lavrov seized on Kerry's comment on Monday, the official said.