News / Middle East

Obama: Syria Could Prevent Airstrike by Turning Over Chemical Weapons

Obama: Syria Could Prevent Airstrikes by Turning Over Chemical Weaponsi
X
September 10, 2013 3:21 PM
President Barack Obama says a proposal to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control could prevent U.S. military strikes on Syria. As VOA’s Kent Klein reports from the White House, the president has been making his case for military strikes to Congress and the American people after Syria’s alleged chemical attack on civilians.
Obama: Syria Could Prevent Airstrikes by Turning Over Chemical Weapons
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama says a proposal to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control could prevent U.S. military strikes on Syria.  The president has been making his case for military strikes to Congress and the American people after Syria’s alleged chemical attack on civilians.

Obama told the PBS Newshour Monday that he has instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss with Russia the proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons.

“If we can exhaust these diplomatic efforts and come up with a formula that gives the international community a verifiable, enforceable mechanism to deal with these chemical weapons in Syria, then I am all for it," the president said.  "But we are going to have to see specifics.”

The president also told ABC World News that Syria could prevent U.S. airstrikes by turning over its chemical weapons.

“Absolutely, if, in fact, that happened.  And so, I consider this a modestly positive development,” he said.
 
Syria's government Monday welcomed Russia's initiative.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton met with Obama at the White House Monday and conditionally backed Russia's proposal.
 
“That would be an important step," Clinton noted. "But this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction.  And Russia has to support the international community’s efforts sincerely or be held to account.”

Since announcing that he would seek authorization from Congress for U.S. strikes on Syria, President Obama has been campaigning to gain support for those strikes -- speaking with congressional leaders at the White House, with world leaders at last week’s G20 Summit in Russia and Monday, in interviews with U.S. television news programs.

The president’s efforts are building toward a rare, televised evening address to the nation, likely his final appeal to the American people.

Public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans oppose U.S. military action in Syria.  

And the proposal to launch strikes on Syria faces stiff opposition in Congress.

Obama told the PBS Newshour he understands the odds against getting Congress to approve his request.

“I also want to make the case, though, that it is in our long-term national security interests to make sure that this chemical weapons ban is enforced,” he stressed.

Other members of the administration also have been making the case.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice, at Washington’s New America Foundation, said the military action the president wants would not mark the start of another war.
  
“There will be no boots on the ground, period.  Nor would it resemble Kosovo or Libya, which were sustained air campaigns.  This will not be an open-ended effort,” Rice stated.

In the meantime, the administration says it continues to prepare for possible military action against Syria.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs