President Obama agreed on Tuesday morning to work with the U.N. on a proposal to get Syria to give up its chemical weapons in order to avoid military action.
The deal will only work, however, if the threat for U.S. military involvement is credible to the Syrian government. In other words, Syria needs to know the U.S. means business.
"Nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of hanging," Secretary of State John Kerry said. "It is the credible threat of force that has been on the table these last two weeks that has for the first time brought the regime to even acknowledge that they have a chemical weapons arsenal and it's been our determination to hold Assad accountable that has motivated others to even talk about real and credible international action."
President Obama initially seemed skeptical of the proposal after Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem released a statement saying that the Arab republic of Syria supported it.
“I think you have to take it with a grain of salt initially. This is not how we have seen them operate over the last couple of years," Obama said.
Nevertheless, President Obama has been in meetings today and is reportedly working with the U.N. to come up with a solution following discussions with President Francois Hollande of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain.
“They agreed to work closely together, and in consultation with Russia and China, to explore seriously the viability of the Russian proposal to put all Syrian chemical weapons and related materials fully under international control in order to ensure their verifiable and enforceable destruction,” a White House official said.
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