Barack Obama says the Unites States’ credibility is on the line over its response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Obama was speaking at a press conference in Sweden during a stopover designed to build support for intervention in the Middle East.
He said: “My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line.
“America and Congress’ credibility is on the line, because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.”
Obama, en route to the G20 summit in St Petersburg, added he was “always hopeful” Russia’s Vladimir Putin would change his position on backing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin said earlier he would not rule out supporting UN-backed strikes against Syria – if it is proved President Bashar al-Assad used poison gas against his own people.
But he warned the international community that launching any military action without UN approval would be illegal, before repeating doubts over whether the Assad regime were responsible for chemical weapons attack.
The US says the alleged chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21 killed 1,429 people.
On Tuesday a Syrian medical expert – who defected to Turkey – claimed he had evidence of the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime.
The debate in France comes after the UK pulled out of any potential action. It has been argued one of the key reasons for the UK’s reluctance to get involved centres around doubts over who would fill any power vaccuum in the country.
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