US President Barack Obama has postponed a Congress vote on military action in Syria.He considers pursuing diplomacy to remove the regime’s chemical weapons.
Though his Secretary of State, John Kerry, seemed to push for a congressional vote during testimony on Capitol Hill earlier in the day, officials said Obama is now hitting “pause” on that process,BBC reports
The pause comes as Kerry plans to meet with his Russian counterpart in Geneva on Thursday to discuss a proposal to have Syria turn over its chemical weapons stockpile to international control.
The administration claims it wants to find out quickly whether this proposal is serious.
Administration officials clarified that Obama is not canceling the congressional votes; but rather, wants to slow them down. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid already has postponed a Wednesday test vote on whether to authorize military force.
In a televised speech from the White House, President Obama said the Russian plan and the regime’s admission that it held chemical weapons were “encouraging signs”.
“It’s too early to tell whether [the Russian plan] will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments,” he said.
Damascus has admitted for the first time that it has chemical weapons, and has agreed to abide by a Russian plan to have the arsenal destroyed.
The US threatened strikes after a gas attack killed hundreds last month.