White House Agrees to Talks on U.N. Resolution on Syrian Chemical Arms
A bipartisan group of eight senators and the White House joined the international diplomatic momentum on Tuesday to avert an American military attack on Syria over its use of chemical munitions in that country’s civil war, responding positively to a Russian proposal aimed at securing and destroying those weapons.
The group of senators, including some of President Obama’s biggest supporters and critics, were drafting an alternative Congressional resolution that would give the United Nations time to take control of the Syrian government’s arsenal of the internationally banned weapons.
If the alternative resolution gained political traction, it could stave off a Congressional vote — and possibly a debilitating defeat for the Obama administration — in the coming days on a more immediate resolution authorizing the use of force, which a majority of Americans appear to oppose. That resolution, approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, had been losing ground in both parties in recent days.
Passage appeared increasingly difficult in the House and possibly the Senate as well. At the same time, a senior White House official said Tuesday that administration officials had begun working with American allies at the United Nations to further explore the viability of the Russian plan, in which the international community would take control of the Syrian weapons stockpile. The official said the discussions, including possible elements of a Security Council resolution, followed discussions between President Obama, President François Hollande of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain. [NY Times]