Barack Obama has said military action against Syria may be called off if the country agrees to a Russian plan to submit its chemical weapons to international control.
In a series of interviews to muster support for military strikes, the US president sought to make it clear that he would prefer a diplomatic solution to the crisis but he said threatening to use force was the right thing to do.
“I don’t think we would have got to this point unless we had maintained a credible possibility of a military strike, and I don’t think now is the time for us to let up on that,” said Obama.
“I want to make sure that that norm against use of chemical weapons is maintained. That’s in our national security interests. If we can do that without a military strike, that is overwhelmingly my preference,” Obama added.
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France, meanwhile, has announced that it plans to seek a United Nations resolution on the initiative to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow is now making “effective, concrete” plans with Damascus to putting Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.
But the opposition Syrian National Council has dismissed the proposal as a stalling tactic and called for Syria’s leaders to be punished over last month’s deadly attack.