Barack Obama has described a Russian proposal to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons as “potentially positive” but questioned if it is realistic.
His remarks came during one of six television interviews the US president gave as he launched a media offensive to get the American public behind him.
“If in fact there is a way to accomplish that diplomatically, that is overwhelmingly my preference,” he said. “I have instructed John Kerry to talk directly to the Russians… if we can exhaust these diplomatic efforts and come up with a formula that gives the international community a verifiable, enforceable mechanism to deal with these chemical weapons in Syria, then I am all for it” added Obama.
While joint talks between Syrian and Russian foreign ministers appear to have brought Damascus on side about putting its chemical arsenal under U.N. control, Obama was still pursuing Congressional backing for military strikes.
However Congress wants more time to explore Russia’s offer and the Senate has postponed Wednesday’s vote.
It is a move which might be welcomed by Obama, with latest opinion polls pointing to a likely Congressional defeat for the president.