In multiple interviews with TV networks, President Barack Obama said he would prefer to have a diplomatic solution to the crisis rather than insist on a military attack, hinting that he would gladly avoid the strike against Syria if the Syrian government turned over control of its chemical weapons.
“John Kerry and the rest of my national security team will engage with the Russians and the international community to see, can we arrive at something that is enforceable and serious,” Obama said.
The Senate meanwhile delayed a test vote to authorize limited military strikes on Syria Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would not rush the vote, since “international discussions” are continuing on a peaceful settlement of the crisis caused by the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its own citizens.
During interviews, Obama emphasized that he remained skeptical that Syria would turn over its chemical weapons, and that he is taking the statements coming out of Syrian government officials in support of the Russian proposal “with a grain of salt.”
The president added that his administration would agree to engage in talks with Russia and Syria, saying: “We’re going to run this to ground.”
“And so it’s possible that we can get a breakthrough, but … it’s going to have to be followed up on. And we don’t want just a stalling tactic to put off … the pressure that we have on there right now,” he said.