If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives up his chemical weapons, a military strike would “absolutely” be on pause, President Obama said today.
“I consider this a modestly positive development,” Obama told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an interview at the White House when asked whether Syria’s apparent willingness to relinquish control of its chemical weapons would prevent a U.S. strike.
“Let’s see if we can come up with language that avoids a strike but accomplishes our key goals to make sure that these chemical weapons are not used,” the president said.
Obama’s comments come after the Russian foreign minister suggested today that Syria could avoid a U.S. attack by turning over its chemical weapons stockpiles over to international control and destroying them, a proposal the Syrian government “welcomed.”
Obama said that Secretary of State John Kerry would pursue the proposal with Russia, an ally of Syria.
But at the same time, Obama said that a potential diplomatic resolution doesn’t mean that Congress should withdraw the threat of military action.
“I don’t think we would have gotten to this point unless we had maintained a credible possibility for a military strike and I don’t think now is the time for us to let up on that,” Obama said.
Read more at ABC NEWS.