Top US Lawmakers Voice Support for Syria Strike
September 03, 2013
by VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is confident he can work with Congress to get a resolution authorizing military action in Syria.
The president made the comment Tuesday at the start of a meeting with congressional leaders to discuss the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons.
He said he was asking Congress to approve a "proportional, limited" military response that would send a "clear message" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and any other country interested in "testing international norms." He also said the U.S. had a "broader strategy" that involved upgrading the capabilities of the Syrian opposition.
Later Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey are due to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
On Monday, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said they were encouraged after meeting with the president, but wanted to see some changes to the president's proposal.
The White House says Mr. Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed their "grave concern" about Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons during a phone call late Monday. The White House says the two leaders agreed that a use of chemical weapons was a "serious violation of international norms" and could not be tolerated.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief members of the Security Council on Tuesday about the latest developments in Syria.
Ban has met with the head of a U.N. inspection team that was in Syria last week collecting samples from the attack last month on civilians near Damascus. That attack killed at least 1,400 people. The samples were sent to labs on Monday for analysis.
Assad denies his military was responsible for the use of chemical weapons, saying the United States and France have no proof to back up their allegations.
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