WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Nancy Pelosi called Russia’s proposal for the Syrian government to surrender its chemical weapons to the international community a victory for President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
“I think this is a victory for President Obama, if it is real,” Pelosi said. “Let us pray that the Russian proposal is one that will avoid the use of force.”
Pelosi posted on Twitter that the proposal was due to the president’s strength.
“Thanks to Pres. Obama’s strength, we have a Russian proposal,” Pelosi tweeted. “We hope that it is credible and real, and therefore progress.”
Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem announced Tuesday that the Syrian government would accept Russia’s proposal to hand over its chemical weapons.
“Yesterday we held a round of very fruitful negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and he put forward an initiative regarding chemical weapons. Already in the evening we accepted Russia’s initiative,” al-Muallem said, according to Russia Today, adding that this move is to “pull the rug from under the feet of American aggression.”
The House Democratic leader said that Obama has been wanting to get Syria to surrender its chemical weapons.
“What the Russians are suggesting — if it is real and if it is serious – says the dynamic has changed,” Pelosi said. “The president has been trying for this, he’s been striving to get the Syrian weapons under international control and now the Russians are suggesting it.”
In an interview with CBS News Monday, Obama said he is willing to take a look at Russia’s proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.
“I think I want to see what exactly is being proposed, and in the interim, it is very important for Congress and the American people to recognize that we would not be getting even ticklers like this if it weren’t for the fact that we were serious about potentially taking action in the absence of some sort of movement,” Obama said.
The president also told ABC News that a strike would “absolutely” be on hold if Assad’s regime abandoned its chemical weapon.
Obama has called on Congress to authorize a military strike following an Aug. 21 chemical attack he said killed more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children. He will be addressing the nation Tuesday night to garner support from skeptical lawmakers and the public.
One of those skeptical lawmakers, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced he will be voting against the Senate resolution to launch a military strike against Syria.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told “CBS This Morning” that the United States has no choice but to allow time for a new diplomatic offensive on Syria to “play out,” even though he’s skeptical that the plan is genuine.
McCain said Tuesday there is “incoherence” in the administration’s statements. But he also said that “not to pursue” the diplomatic option “would be a mistake.”
McCain said he will propose an amendment to the Senate’s Syria resolution incorporating the proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons. The amendment would require verification through international monitors and call for guidelines and benchmarks to be met.
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