WASHINGTON D.C. (CNN)- President Barack Obama said that the United States “should take military action against Syrian targets” in a Rose Garden address Saturday. However, he said he would seek congressional authorization when federal lawmakers return from recess.
The president appealed for congressional leaders to consider their responsibilities and values in debating U.S. military action in Syria over its alleged chemical weapons use.”Some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment,” he said. “Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are united as one nation.”
U.N. inspectors returned from Syria carrying evidence about whether an attack last week in a Damascus suburb included the use of chemical weapons.
“The aim of the game here, the mandate, is very clear — and that is to ascertain whether chemical weapons were used and not by whom,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters Saturday.
The team arrived in the Netherlands earlier in the day with information about the August 21 attack, which British and U.S. intelligence reports say included chemical weapons.
“It needs time to be able to analyze the information and the samples,” Nesirky said.
He noted that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said there is no alternative to a political solution to the crisis in Syria. “A military solution is not an option,” he said.
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Obama has proposed a limited military action to dissuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons against his people, as the administration contends has occurred multiple times.
But more consultations are needed with Congress and allies before any “response” is taken, a senior U.S. official told CNN Saturday. It was not clear what implications this might have for the timing of any possible U.S. strike on Syria.