Obama heads to Europe to drum up support for Syria strike
Zee Media Bureau
Washington: Having secured an initial victory at home by winning Senators` backing for his Syria plan, US President Barack Obama on Tuesday headed to Europe in hope of garnering international support for the same.
After urging US lawmakers to support Syria plan yestedy night, Obama set out on a three day trip to Sweden and Russia.
Obama will arrive in Stockholm early Wednesday and will be heading to Russia`s St.Petersburg tomorrow to attend the eighth G20 Summit.
According to White House, Obama has no plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the two will have opportunities to speak at G-20 meetings.
Obama was planning to meet with Putin in Moscow ahead of the G-20, but he cancelled after Russia granted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden asylum.
A White House official said Wednesday Obama will hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of France and China on the sidelines of the meeting.
"While in Russia for the G20, the president will hold bilateral meetings with President Xi of China and President Hollande of France," the official said.
At G-20, Obama will seek to bolster international support for a strike during talks with world leaders this week at the Group of 20 summit. Those efforts will pit him against Russian president and summit host Vladimir Putin, who has perhaps done the most to stymie international efforts to oust Syria`s Bashar Assad.
While Syria isn`t officially on the agenda at the economy-focused G-20 summit, the potential for imminent military action is expected to dominate conversations on the sidelines of the summit. World leaders will be seeking guidance from the U.S. president about whether he plans to proceed with a strike if Congress rejects his proposed resolution — a question Obama`s aides have refused to answer.
Votes in the House and the Senate are expected next week, just after Obama wraps up his trip.
Risking an inevitable Russian opposition, Obama had earlier decided to bypass UN but waited to seek Congressional support at home before going ahead with the plan of "limited" military strike on Syria for the deadly chemical attacks that Washington sas was staged by Assad regime and killed 1400 people.
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