World Bulletin/News Desk
President Barack Obama said on Thursday he reserves the right to resort to a range of diplomatic and military options if he gets conclusive proof that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons in the country's civil war.
Obama, at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, said there was evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria but that it is important to get "more specific information" to confirm this before deciding how to respond.
Erdogan had been expected to push Obama, at least in private, for more assertive action on Syria during a visit to Washington this week, days after car bombs tore through a Turkish border town in the deadliest spillover of violence yet.
But the two leaders showed no sign of friction in their appearance in the White House Rose Garden and sought to project a united front on Syria.
Obama - who has been reluctant to arm Syrian rebels or become enmeshed militarily in the two-year-old conflict - expressed hope that the United States and Russia would succeed in arranging a peace conference that would produce results.
But Obama, who had insisted chemical weapons use would be a "game changer," made clear, however, that Washington was keeping all options on the table, though he did not provide specifics.
"There are a whole range of options that the United States is already engaged in," he told reporters. "And I preserve the options of taking additional steps, both diplomatic and military, because those chemical weapons inside of Syria also threaten our security over the long term as well as our allies and friends and neighbors."
Erdogan said Turkey was in "full consensus" with the United States on the need to end the bloodshed in Syria and for a political transition to a government without Assad.
"The sooner Assad leaves the better. The main question is how this will take place. We discussed these issues (with Turkish PM Erdogan) on Thursday. There is no magical formula" said Obama Turkey's Erdogan said "We are in full agreement with the US to end the bloody process in Syria and the establishment of a new administration which meets the legitimate demands of the Syrian people."
Turkish PM Erdogan said "Humanitarian assistance to Syrians reached 1.5 billion USD. We will continue to help the Syrians with "an open door policy". "Presence of Russia and China crucial in solving the Syrian problem. Their participation would speed up the process. International pressure on Syria carries importance" he said
Erdogan said "We would like to save Syria from dictatorship and this is a joint problem of all countries having faith in democracy. We will continue to work in this regard." "We would like to see the international community's sensitivity on Syria now" he said.
Erdogan also said he plans to visit Gaza in June and will visit the West Bank."
"We continue to work with the Israeli government for them to pay compensation for the victims of the Israeli raid on Mavi Marmara aid ship" he said.
Last Mod: 16 Mayıs 2013, 21:02