United States President Barack Obama is going to Congress on Tuesday with fresh hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough that would allow Syria’s government to avert U.S. missile strikes if it surrenders its chemical weapons arsenal.
Syria’s foreign minister on Tuesday said the country has accepted Russia’s proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent dismantling. The proposal emerged Monday after a comment from Secretary of State John Kerry was taken up by Russia, and the United Nations expressed support.
Obama and his administration also expressed careful support.
“The key is, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, that we don’t just trust, but we also verify,” Obama told CBS. “The importance is to make sure that the international community has confidence that these chemical weapons are under control, that they are not being used, that potentially they are removed from Syria and that they are destroyed.”
He added, “There are a lot of stockpiles inside of Syria,” he said. “It’s one of the largest in the world. Let’s see if they’re serious.” Obama said he discussed the potential plan for Syria to surrender its chemical stockpiles with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.