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White House: Russian prestige on the line in Syria

September 11, 2013 • National News


President Barack Obama addresses the nation in a live televised speech from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. President Obama blended the threat of military action with the hope of a diplomatic solution as he works to strip Syria of its chemical weapons. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House tried Wednesday to pin the success or failure of a diplomatic option to secure Syria’s chemical weapons on Russia rather than the United States as Secretary of State John Kerry headed for Geneva to work on a Russian proposal for international inspectors to seize and destroy the deadly stockpile.

On a different diplomatic front aimed at taking control of the stockpile away from the Assad government, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council met Wednesday at Russia’s U.N. mission to consider goals for a new resolution requiring Syria’s chemical weapons to be dismantled. They left without commenting, but whether a U.N. resolution should be militarily enforceable was already emerging as a point of contention.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an opinion piece for The New York Times, called for caution in dealing with Syria, saying that a potential strike by the U.S. would create more victims and could spread the conflict beyond Syria as well as “unleash a new wave of terrorism.”

Rebels who had hoped U.S.-led strikes against the Syrian government would aid their effort expressed disappointment, if not condemnation of the U.S., over President Barack Obama’s decision to pursue diplomacy in the wake of a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people.

“We’re on our own,” Mohammad Joud, an opposition fighter in the war-shattered northern city of Aleppo, said via Skype. “I always knew that, but thanks to Obama’s shameful conduct, others are waking Login to read more

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