Via Fox News:
President Obama on Monday took a sharp turn away from his “red line” threat to Syria on the eve of taking his case to the American people, saying in an interview with Fox News that he’s open to negotiations on an alternative plan that could avert a military strike.
The president was responding to a proposal, formally put forward by the Russians, to have the Assad regime turn over its chemical weapons to international control.
“We will pursue this diplomatic track,” Obama told Fox News. “I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way.”
The president indicated he still wants Congress to debate a resolution to authorize a strike against Syria. “I think it is important for us not to let the pedal off the metal when it comes to making sure they understand we mean what we say,” Obama said.
But the president’s decision to pursue the diplomatic track is a departure from his decision more than a week ago to pursue a military strike. And it could bring the temperature down a notch in the ongoing stand-off between his administration and the Assad government.
The president’s comments come after a proposal to have the Syrian government relinquish control of its stockpile quickly caught fire in the international community and in Washington.