TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The US president asked Congress to postpone a vote on military action in Syria as diplomacy is pursued to put chemical weapons beyond the government’s reach, but called on the military to maintain pressure on the Syrian government.
In his speech, Barack Obama has reiterated that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons with a limited military action.
However, since over the last few days there have been a number of “encouraging signs” that the crisis could be resolved politically – “in part because of the credible threat of US military action” – the US President has asked the leaders of Congress to “postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.”
Obama spoke of the Russian proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control as one of the reasons he was delaying a “limited strike” on Syria.
“It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments, but this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies,” Obama said.
Obama has pledged to continue discussions on the Syrian issue with President Vladimir Putin, while Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Thursday, RT reported.
France and the United Kingdom, two of the US’s closest allies, the President said, will also work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the UN Security Council.
“We’ll also give UN inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st,” Obama added.
Russia proposed placing Syria’s chemical weapons under international monitoring and eventually destroying them if all parties agree to denounce military action. China and Iran have endorsed the idea, which has appeared to gain traction since it was first proposed Monday while other members of the UN Security Council have expressed doubt over how the chemical weapons could be safely moved out of an active war zone.
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