Washington: US President Barack Obama told the Congress that he wants to give diplomacy a chance on the issue of Syria, but backed a limited and targeted military strike against the Assad regime with Congressional authorisation.
Hours ahead of his address to the nation, Obama drove down to the Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on his assessment of the Syrian situation, and received inputs on his decision to go for a limited military strike against Assad regime.
The President said he wants to work on the Russian proposal to bring chemical weapons of Syria under international control, and simultaneously work with lawmakers on Congressional authorisation for a limited and targeted military strike against the Assad regime.
"The President said he`d decided it is in the core national security interests of the US to conduct a limited, targeted military strike, that doesn`t involve putting boots on the ground, to enforce a long-held international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons," a White House official said following the meeting.
Obama, who spent more than an hour each in meetings with the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Senate Republican Conference in the US Capitol, said he was pleased by the seriousness of the public debate that had taken place in the aftermath of his decision to seek congressional authorisation for this limited military response.
"He indicated a desire to pursue diplomatic option that was put forward yesterday by the Russians, in response to the looming threat of the US military force against the Assad regime, and following on the President`s discussion with (the Russian) President Putin in St Petersburg," the official said.
Obama told lawmakers that his administration will spend the days ahead pursuing this diplomatic option with the Russians and his allies at the UN, the official said.