WASHINGTON, September 11 (Itar-Tass). - The United States will study Russia’s initiative to place chemical weapons in Syria under international control and will continue talks with Moscow, US President Barack Obama said in an address to the nation on Tuesday evening that was aired by leading TV outlets of the US.
“I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart (Sergei Lavrov) on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin,” the US President said. As earlier reported by US authorities, the meeting of Kerry and Lavrov would take place September 12 in Geneva.
Obama also noted that he asked the US Congress to delay a vote on resolution, which will authorize the use of military force against Syria in retaliation to chemical weapons use. The Senate, which was going to vote for the resolution on Wednesday, has postponed this procedure. The House of Representatives intends to review the document after the Senate.
Obama noted that the US will have consultations with Russia, China and other members of the UN Security Council over placing Syrian chemical weapons under international control.
The US President believes that "encouraging signs" of the possibility of settling the Syrian problem through political means have appeared in recent days, "partly because of the threat from the United States to use military force, as well as constructive negotiations with President Putin."
At the same time, Obama believes that "it is too early to say whether this proposal would be implemented successfully." "Any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments," he explained. However, the new "initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force”, in particular, because Russia is one of the strongest allies of Assad.
Consultations between US and UN Security Council
Obama pledged that the US would hold consultations with Russia, China and other UN Security Council members for a resolution demanding that President Bashar al-Assad put Syrian chemical weapons under international control. "We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st," the US leader said, referring to the incident in the suburbs of Damascus, where, according to the US, government forces used chemical weapons against civilians.
He stressed that his administration would prefer to resolve the conflict in Syria by political means and redouble its diplomatic efforts in this direction. At the same time, the United States will continue to pressure the Syrian authorities and still do not exclude the possibility of using military force. "I’ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad, and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails," Obama said.
As it appears, Obama is considering the decision to prepare the US military operation in Syria and still hopes that Congress would authorize such action.
No American boots on Syrian ground
Obama reiterated that in case of a military operation in Syria the US troops would not enter Syria. “I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons, and degrading Assad’s capabilities”.
Obama once again expressed his confidence that the responsibility for the use of toxic substances in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21 lays exactly on Syrian authorities. In this regard, he stressed that if the international community does not take appropriate action, "the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons."