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Obama Asks Congress to Delay Votes on Syria

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U.S. President Barack Obama is getting ready to address the nation on Syria, but Tuesday's flurry of diplomacy is likely to change the tone of his speech.

Mr. Obama was expected to make the case for a U.S. military strike on Syria for using chemical weapons on civilians near Damascus last month.

But the president is asking Congress to delay voting on military action after the Syrian government said it would give up its chemical weapons and sign an international treaty banning such bombs. Syria also said it would agree to a Russian plan to put its chemical weapons under international control and let them be destroyed.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration will take a hard look at the Russian plan. Kerry intends to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday in Geneva to discuss Syria.



At the United Nations, American, British and French diplomats worked on a draft resolution Tuesday calling for strong action if Syria fails to keep its word.

President Obama says the U.S. is still prepared to go ahead with military strikes against Syria if diplomacy fails. But Russian President Vladimir Putin says the plan for Syria can only work if the United States drops its threat of force.

Syria's main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Coalition, dismissed the Russian proposal as meaningless. It said the plan still would give the Syrian army free rein to fight on with conventional weapons.

But while diplomatic activity focuses on the response to the chemical weapons attack, the civil war in Syria continues. On Tuesday, Syrian military jets again bombed rebel positions in the capital.

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