Obama vows to pursue diplomacy, but keeps military option open
U.S. President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to explore a diplomatic initiative from Russia to neutralize Syria's chemical weapons. At the same time, he voiced skepticism about this new development and urged Americans to support his threat to use military force.
Obama said any deal with Assad would require verification that the Syrian president keeps his word.
"It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed. And any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad's strongest allies."
When it comes to pursuing a military strike, President Obama has faced stiff opposition both among Americans and members of Congress. On Tuesday, a bi-partisan group of Senators began drafting a modified resolution that explored alternatives to a military strike.
"If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons," President Obama said. "As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them."