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.
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 For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid