World set Syria red line, not me: Obama
US President Barack Obama answers a question on Syria during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (not pictured) following their bilateral meeting at the Rosenbad Building in Stockholm on September 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMADU.S. President Barack Obama rejected Sept.4 suggestions he set a red line for action against Syria in the event al-Assad used chemical weapons and said that the international community “cannot be silent” following Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people.
“I discussed our assessment and (Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt) and I are in an agreement that in the face of such barbarism the international community cannot be silent,” he said.
“Failing to respond to this attack would only increase the risk of more attacks and that possibility that other countries would use these weapons, as well,” he told a press conference in Sweden on the first day of a two-day visit. Obama said he would not repeat mistakes made in Iraq as his country mulls military action in Syria, adding he believed he would get Congressional backing for strikes.
“I’m somebody who opposed the war in Iraq. And I am not interested in repeating mistakes of us basing decisions on faulty intelligence,” he told a briefing in the Swedish capital.
Obama also said that the red line he outlined last year regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons came from international treaties and past congressional action, and now it is time for the international community to make good on its opposition to the banned armaments. “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line,” Obama said, adding that he hoped Russian President Vladimir Putin would change direction on a military intervention in Syria. “I’m always hopeful ... Ultimately, we can end deaths much more rapidly if Russia takes a different approach to these problems,” he said.
Reinfeldt said at the same press conference that Sweden “condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the strongest possible terms.” “It’s a clear violation of international law. Those responsible should be held accountable,” he said.