President Obama’s weekly remarks

This week, when I addressed the nation on Syria, I said that — in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military force — there is the possibility of a diplomatic solution.

Russia has indicated a new willingness to join with the international community in pushing Syria to give up its chemical weapons, which the Assad regime used in an attack that killed more than 1,000 people on August 21. I also asked Congress to postpone a vote on the use of military force while we pursue this diplomatic path. And that’s what we’re doing.

At my direction, Secretary of State Kerry is in discussions with his Russian counterpart. But we’re making it clear that this can’t be a stalling tactic. Any agreement needs to verify that the Assad regime and Russia are keeping their commitments: that means working to turn Syria’s chemical weapons over to international control and ultimately destroying them.

This would allow us to achieve our goal — deterring the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons, degrading their ability to use them, and making it clear to the world that we won’t tolerate their use.

We’ve seen indications of progress. As recently as a week ago, the Assad regime would not admit that it possessed chemical weapons. Today, it does. Syria has signaled a willingness to join with 189 other nations, representing 98 percent of humanity, in abiding by an international agreement that prohibits the use of chemical weapons. And Russia has staked its own credibility on supporting this outcome.