Obama holds off on attack after Russia's proposal that Damascus hand over all chemical weapons
Washington (AsiaNews ) - The U.S. president , Barack Obama, has said that he will hold off on a military attack against Syria if it adheres to the idea launched by Russia to put all its chemical weapons under the control of the international community . But he also added that he was skeptical of Syria's behavior.
Just as Congress begins the
debate on the authorization to strike Syria, and Obama pledged to give
interviews to the major television channels to convince the American public, Russian
foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, in a meeting with his Syrian counterpart (see
photo) called on Syria to hand over all its chemical weapons to the
international community to be destroyed. He
also called on Damascus to sign the Treaty for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons , which so far Syria had not signed .
The United States is trying to aggregate partners for its planned military intervention in Syria, which it believes guilty of using chemical weapons against the civilian population on 21 August. Syria rejects the charges and claims that the weapons were instead used by the rebels. According to the U.S. there is "irrefutable" evidence, but it has not been made public . At the same time, Russia casts doubt on the U.S. evidence and says he has evidence of use of chemical weapons by the armed opposition to Bashar Assad.
The Russian idea emerged after a statement by John Kerry , U.S. Secretary of State , who speaking in London said that Syria could avoid a U.S. military attack if it hands over "every single piece " of chemical weapons to the control of the international community .
Following Russia's proposal, the U.S. State Department distanced itself from Kerry's statement , saying that they were a "rhetorical".
The Lavrov proposal was greeted by Walid Muallam , Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs (pictured, left) , who thanked Russia for its attempt to "prevent the U.S. aggression against our people ."
It was also immediately welcomed by UN secretary general Ban Ki -moon , who said he wanted to "push the Security Council to demand the immediate transfer of Syrian chemical weapons and experimental compounds to a safe zone in Syria where they can be securely destroyed . "
The Russian proposal could be a way out for Obama who is increasingly alone in his call for a military attack . He is directly supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and France on an international level. But at home, according to polls issued yesterday, at least 63% of Americans are opposed, last week there were 48% opposed. It will also be difficult to gain Congress approval: a Bloomberg survey of says that there are at least 218 Congress members against and a motion for or against should have a majority of 217 .
This evening, at 9 am (local time), in an effort to garner support for an attack, Obama will make a speech to the nation.