Obama Signals Support For Kerry's Ad-Libbed Syria Plan

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 9 2013 7:10 PM

Obama Signals Support For Kerry's Ad-Libbed Syria Plan; Senate Test Vote on Hold

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
In this handout image provided by Host Photo Agency, U.S. President Barack Obama during a press conference at the end of the G20 Leaders' Summit on September 6, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia

Handout

Two rather significant developments on Syria this evening, the biggest of which came when President Obama said he'd be willing to put his planned strikes on hold if Bashar Assad’s regime were to turn over control of its chemical weapons—an apparently off-the-cuff plan floated earlier today by John Kerry only to be surprisingly embraced by much of the globe. Here's Politico with the details:

Obama said he’s open to — though skeptical of — a potential deal to transfer control of Assad’s weapons. “Absolutely. If in fact that happens,” Obama said in an interview with ABC, one of six he sat for at the White House on Monday.
The president said his team will engage in talks with Russia and Syria. “We’re going to run this to ground,” he told CNN. “And John Kerry and the rest of my national security team will engage with the Russians and the international community to see can we arrive at something that is enforceable and serious.”
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The second noteworthy development came via the Senate, where Harry Reid says he'll delay a test vote on Obama's original plan. The Associated Press reports that the Senate Majority Leader says that it wouldn't make sense to hold the vote while international discussions continue regarding Syria's use of chemical weapons.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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