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Obama: U.S. wants international response to Syria

Obama: U.S. wants international response to Syria
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 7:42am

(CNN) -- [Breaking news update, 9:30 a.m. ET]

The United States and Russia have "kind of hit a wall in terms of additional progress" in the countries' reset of relations under the Obama administration, President Barack Obama said Wednesday in Sweden.

[Breaking news update, 9:25 a.m. ET]

"My credibility is not on the line -- the international community's credibility is on the line," President Barack Obama said Wednesday in Sweden regarding his desire for a military strike in response to a suspected August chemical attack in Syria. He said the question is, after going through all the evidence: "Are we going to try to find a reason not to act? And if that's the case, then I think the (world) community should admit it."

 

[Breaking news update, 9:14 a.m. ET]

President Barack Obama said Wednesday the "red line" he previously spoke of regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria wasn't his own, but the world's. "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98%" of the world's population "passed a treaty forbidding (chemical weapons) use, even when countries are engaged in war," Obama said in Sweden.

[Original story published at 9:06 a.m. ET]

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States wants "to join with the international community" in an "effective response" to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"I respect the U.N. process," he said at an event in Stockholm with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who opposes military intervention without U.N. approval.

"We agree that the international community cannot be silent," Obama said. A team of U.N. investigators has done "heroic work," he said.

But, he added, "we believe that chemical weapons were used," and that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "was the source."

Syrian allies Russia and China are likely to block any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention in Syria.

Obama's remarks, on the first bilateral visit to Sweden by a U.S. president, came as the White House works to persuade Congress to get behind a possible military strike in response to what it says was a chemical weapons attack August 21 in the suburbs of Damascus.

On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to consider a revised bill authorizing a military strike. The authorization would set a 60-day deadline for use of force in Syria, with an option for an additional 30 days.

Obama, who left Washington on Tuesday night for a three-day overseas trip, was visiting Sweden ahead of his planned appearance at the G-20 summit in Russia.

 

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