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September 14, 2013

Obama: Syria's Assad Must Show 'Concrete Actions' on Chemical Weapons

U.S. President Barack Obama says he is prepared to move forward if a "serious plan" emerges for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, but he says the U.S. and the international community "must remain prepared to act" if diplomacy fails.

President Obama said in his weekly address Saturday that the U.S. is making clear that the Russian-led initiative for a diplomatic solution cannot be a "stalling tactic." He said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must take "concrete actions" to demonstrate he is serious about giving up his chemical weapons.

President Obama taped the weekly address on Friday, before Saturday's news that U.S. and Russian diplomats had reached a deal on a framework for Syria to destroy all its chemical weapons.

The Obama administration blames the Syrian government for an August 21 chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed more than 1,400 Syrians. Mr. Obama pushed for military action against the government in response, but has put that on hold while pursuing this diplomatic path.

The president said in his address Saturday that the possibility of a diplomatic solution is due in part to the "credible threat of U.S. military force," and noted that Mr. Assad's regime would not admit to possessing chemical weapons a week ago, but "today, it does."



Meanwhile, in this week's Republican address, Representative Diane Black of Tennessee called on the Senate to pass a bill to prevent fraud and abuse in Mr. Obama's health care reform law.