U.S. Senator Roy Blunt has addressed President Barack Obama’s request for action in Syria. Blunt and other Reppublican Senators met the Commander in Chief for an hour on Tuesday.
The president has suggested a “shot across the bow,” and Russia proposed a plan Monday to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. Syria has agreed to Russia’s plan.
“There was some possibility that the Russian proposal might produce a result. Though everyone I’ve talked to about that, and I don’t think the President would be in a different place, suggests that controlling the chemical weapons that the Syrians had in a war-like condition in the country is very hard to do,” said Blunt.
Click to hear Blunt’s Tuesday afternoon press conference:
Blunt remains skeptical of Russia’s plan as more details are revealed.
“The more caveats the Russians add, the more the world community figures out how hard it really is to get control of chemical weapons and do anything with them, even in a peaceful environment, the more difficult it is to see a way forward that achieves that goal of the world community taking control of and, I would assume, eventually doing something to elimate Assad’s chemical weapons.”
President Obama has said he will wait for a response. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to travel to Switzerland this week to discuss a possible deal with Russia’s foreign minister.
At least 33 countries, including the United States are calling for strong international response to allegations that Syria killed about 1,500 of its own citizens, including more than 400 children, in a chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
Statement from U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
“Assad’s chemical attacks on his own people were abhorrent, and I join the President in condemning his actions.
“It is clear that the Administration’s policies toward Syria have not worked. The refugee problem has destabilized the region, and the addition of outside radical groups increases the likelihood of long-term danger for Syrians and their neighbors.
“During the first months of the insurgency, I believed that we could and should assist in establishing a safe zone for refugees and those challenging Assad. This is a position I publicly held as late as March of this year, but the longer these things are allowed to drag on in the Middle East, the harder they are to impact in a positive way.
“I respect the President’s responsibilities as Commander in Chief. In this case, the President has asked the Congress to support very specific tactics and strategies. He has asked Congress to endorse a ‘shot across the bow’ and has said that Assad will stay in place while a political solution is sought, which stands in contrast to his statement more than two years ago that Assad must ‘step aside.’ I’m not convinced that the President’s strategy lines up with the policy goals our country should have, or that the Administration currently has realistic policy goals in Syria.
“After careful consideration and a number of briefings on this topic, I believe this strategy and the unknown response it may provoke are the wrong thing to do, and I will not support the resolution the President has asked for.”