President Barack Obama said a framework agreement between the U.S. and Russia represents a “concrete step” toward the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.
“This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world,” Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.
The U.S. “remains prepared to act” if diplomacy fails, Obama said in the statement.
The Pentagon said on Saturday that U.S. military forces were still positioned for possible military strikes on Syria, at least for now.
"We haven't made any changes to our force posture to this point," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
"The credible threat of military force has been key to driving diplomatic progress, and it's important that the Assad regime lives up to its obligations under the framework agreement."
In his weekly address earlier Saturday, Obama said he's prepared to move forward on a "serious plan" for Syria's chemical weapons but adds that the world must stand ready to act if diplomacy fails.
In his address, Obama says poison gas cannot become the new weapon of choice for tyrants and terrorists.
Obama blames Syria for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack the U.S. maintains killed more than 1,400 people, including children. He threatened a military strike in response but now is awaiting the outcome of negotiations between the U.S. and Russia after Syria agreed to a Russian proposal to turn over the weapons stockpile.
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