WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- During an address to the nation Tuesday night, President Barack Obama said he has asked Congress to postpone a vote on his plan to carry out a military strike in Syria, while the U.S. pursues a diplomatic solution.
The Syrian government is accused of using chemical weapons on its citizens, killing more than 1,000 people. Tuesday night, President Obama said nobody disputes that the weapons were used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday his government is ready to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile and it is prepared to sign an international chemical weapons convention that it has rejected in the past.
President Obama said he supports that plan.
"It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments but this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force," the president said.
The president didn't rule out a possible U.S. strike, saying the military will stand by in case diplomacy fails, to keep the pressure on Assad to get rid of the chemical weapons.
Obama said any strike would be limited and there would not be open-ended military action. The president said he realizes many Americans are weary of war after the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Middle East experts say if this Russian proposal goes as planned, it should avoid a U.S. strike and might cut down on violence in Syria, by holding the groups using chemical weapons accountable.
UW-Madison professor Jennifer Loewenstein says the best solution to stop the conflict in Syria is intervention from the United Nations and a widespread effort among many countries.
"It involves the U.S. and Russia sitting down with the primary players in this civil war, in this series of proxy wars, and hammering out some kind of a peaceful solution to the many problems that face this country," says Loewenstein.
President Obama said Tuesday night he is working directly with the Russian government on a peaceful solution. He says he'll continue efforts to rally support from allies. The president plans to put forward a resolution with the support of France and the United Kingdom, to require Assad to destroy the chemical weapons.
Earlier Tuesday, Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin gave a Senate floor speech, saying she doesn't approve of getting into a war in Syria. Baldwin believes America must not act alone because the use of chemical weapons needs a global response.
Last week, Republican Senator Ron Johnson released a statement saying he wasn't happy with how fast the voting process was moving among the Legislature and didn't have enough information.
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