Barack Obama cancels California trip to work on Syria
Washington: US President Barack Obama has cancelled a trip to California next week so that he can stay in Washington to work on resolution in Congress that would authorise military strike in Syria, the White House has said.
"The President`s trip to California has been cancelled. He will remain in Washington to work on the Syrian resolution before Congress," a White House official said yesterday.
Last Saturday, Obama had announced his decision to go for a punitive strike against the Assad regime holding it accountable for a chemical weapons attack on civilians.
Obama has asked Congress to authorise a military strike against Syria so as to give it a shape of national unity.
Congressional committees began deliberations on the authorisation this week, with the vote in both House of Representatives and Senate likely to be taken up early next week. The same is stated to be the reason why he has cancelled his trip to Los Angeles.
Obama was scheduled to speak to an AFL-CIO convention while in California, and attend a USD 32,400 per plate dinner at the home of Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of the sitcom "Friends".
The US President is currently in Russia to attend the G20 Summit in St Petersburg.
White House officials said the Obama continued to reach out to top American lawmakers to make his case for military strike against Syria.
"Yesterday, the President made five calls to a bipartisan group of senators as part of our continued engagement with members of Congress on Syria," Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes, said.
Rhodes said the White House is very pleased with the trend lines.
"I think each day what you`ve seen is different members coming out on a bipartisan basis to support an authorisation to use military force," he said.
"We`re going to continue to make the case to members. We understand the obligation that we have to provide them with information to explain our thinking, to explain the nature of the action we`re contemplating. We`ll keep doing that, and we`re confident that we`ll get a resolution passed," he added.
Rhodes said one thing for Congress to consider is the message that this debate sends about US leadership around the world. The US for decades has played the role of undergirding the global security architecture and enforcing international norms.
"And we do not want to send a message that the United States is getting out of that business in any way," he said.
"So I think one of the reasons we`re starting to see bipartisan support is that there`s an understanding that this is about the situation in Syria and it`s also about the leadership role that the United States plays in enforcing international norms," Rhodes said.
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