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Obama Looks to Diplomacy in Syria, With Military Action As Fallback Option

President Obama Meets With Senate Democrats And Republicans On Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 10: Escorted by the Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer (2d L), U.S. President Barack Obama (L) waves as he arrives at the Capitol to meet with senate members September 10, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. President Obama visited both Senate Democratic and Republican policy luncheons to discuss the current situations in Syria. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s now a two-track strategy on Syria for President Barack Obama and his allies in Congress.

With Syria saying it supports a proposal that it give up control of its chemical weapons stockpiles, Obama is joining a call for the U.N. Security Council to begin talks aimed at securing those weapons.

But at the same time, he’s continuing to push the fallback idea of U.S. airstrikes against Bashar Assad’s regime, in case that effort fails.

A bipartisan group of senators is seizing on that new strategy — putting together a reworked congressional resolution calling for a U.N team to remove the chemical weapons by a set deadline. It authorizes military action if that doesn’t happen.

Obama is discussing the diplomatic and military options today with Democratic and Republican senators who are growing increasingly wary of U.S. military intervention. And he’s planning to address the American people from the White House tonight.

This morning, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell became the first congressional leader to come out against authorizing military strikes. He said there are “too many unanswered questions about our long-term strategy in Syria.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers that the plan for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons must not be used as a delaying tactic. And he said it has to be verifiable.

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