News / USA

Obama: Need All Facts on Syria Chemical Weapons

President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, April 30, 2013.
President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, April 30, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Kent Klein
— President Barack Obama said Tuesday he needs more facts about chemical weapons use in Syria before committing to stronger action against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Obama told reporters at the White House that the United States would have to “rethink” its “range of options” if it can establish that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people.

But the president said he would need more information before taking further steps.

“When I am making decisions about America’s national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I have got to make sure I have got the facts,” he said.

The president said there is evidence that chemical weapons were used in Syria, But he added the United States does not know who used them, how, or when.

Last week, the White House told lawmakers it believes "with varying degrees of confidence" that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used a small quantity of sarin gas, a chemical weapon, in Syria’s civil war.

On Tuesday, the president again called the use of chemical weapons a “game changer,” and said he asked the Pentagon last year for additional options for dealing with it.

Boston bombing

When asked about the investigation into the bombings at the Boston Marathon two weeks ago, allegedly by two ethnic Chechen brothers, Obama said Russia has been “very cooperative.”

He spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone Monday about this and other issues.

“He is committed to working with me to make sure that those who report to us are cooperating fully, in not only this investigation but how do we work on counterterrorism issues generally,” Obama said.

The president said there is still some lingering suspicion between the U.S. and Russian intelligence agencies, dating back to the Cold War, but that relations are improving.

Guantanamo

Obama took a question about the status of the controversial military prison at the U.S. Navy facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where dozens of prisoners are on a hunger strike.

He pledged to try again to close the prison, which he promised during his first presidential campaign in 2008.

“I am going to go back at this.  I have asked my team to review everything that is currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I am going to re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that is in the best interests of the American people,” Obama said.

Obama contended that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe, it hurts the nation’s standing in the world, it damages U.S. cooperation with allies on counterterrorism, and it provides terrorist groups with a recruitment tool.

Visit to Mexico

Finally, the president said he is looking forward to visiting Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto later this week.  He said that unlike many past meetings, this one will focus on economic issues.  

“We have spent so much time on security issues between the United States and Mexico that sometimes I think we forget this is a massive trading partner, responsible for huge amounts of commerce and huge numbers of jobs on both sides of the border.  We want to see how we can deepen that, how we can improve that and maintain that economic dialogue over a long period of time,” he said.

Obama said the U.S. and Mexico have made “great strides” in improving their cooperation on cross-border security, but he acknowledged that the situation can be improved.

On his trip, the president will also meet with the leaders of Central American nations and the Dominican Republic in Costa Rica.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: thomas mc from: colorado springs
April 30, 2013 12:57 PM
Israel lied to the USA about WMDs in Iraq, why would they believe Israel now?!?

In Response

by: shawn from: Washington State
April 30, 2013 7:15 PM
Hello Mr. MC. Israel never said any such a thing. It was an Iraq defector who started this and thus came this paragraph from Dailey mail reporter: Quote: The man whose testimony was used by the White House as one of its main justifications for war in Iraq has admitted he told a pack of lies.
The Iraqi defector, known to U.S. agents as Curveball, accepted for the first time that he simply made up tales about Saddam Hussein’s supposed biological weapons programme.
The claims made by Rafid Ahmed al-Janabi helped persuade President George Bush that there were mobile bio-weapons trucks and secret factories in the Iraqi desert."un-quote


by: shawn from: Washington State
April 30, 2013 12:51 PM
I believe that absolutely making sure that the USA is dealing with chemical weapons is smarter than presumption which could cause a the start of a world war.Our president and Putin are being rational. We need rational right now and not chemical wars where china, Russia, South Korea , possibly Hawaii and the NW get harmed mortally.I agree with the process and assessment values.


by: david baker from: san mateo, ca.
April 30, 2013 12:22 PM
Boston Bombing - alleged bombers, are you kidding! and then to add Guantanamo with the article.
Budget Woes - do the right thing, for who! how about compromise.
as should are government, you should try thinking (writing) from a neutral stand point!


by: nikos from: NY
April 30, 2013 12:22 PM
Since when does he await facts? The transparency ?
Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Syria, Paying off Assad- the Boston bombing- and on and on- The transparent administration is more like the opaque administration- but have AG holder on the job makes me feel quite comfortable. LOL


by: Jack from: NY
April 30, 2013 12:04 PM
Wow,

Are you telling me that the president doesn't know what is going on in the middle east! Does this mean a reporter will ask a question and then what. An i'll prepared answer does not build confidence.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid