Obama stands firm on Syria air strikes, G20 summit divided
Friday, September 06, 2013 - 01:42
Sept. 6 - U.S. President Barack Obama defied pressure from world leaders to abandon plans for air strikes against Syria, leaving deep divisions at the G20 economic summit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama defied pressure from fellow world leaders to abandon plans for air strikes against Syria, leaving deep divisions on Friday at a summit which overshadowed efforts to revive the global economy.
Speaking in St. Petersburg, Russia on the final day of the meeting of emerging and developed nations, Obama said that the decision to make a military strike was a "tough choice" but added that failure to act against Syrian use of chemical weapons would embolden "rogue nations" to use similar weapons as well.
"I was elected to end wars, not start them," Obama said. "I've spend the last four and a half years doing everything I can to reduce our reliance on military power, but what I also know is that there are times where we have to make hard choices if we are going to stand up for the things we care about and I believe that this is one of those times."
Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hosted the G20 summit, remained far apart on Syria after a dinner discussion on the civil war in the Middle East, which stretched deep into Thursday night.
A Kremlin aid told Reuters on Friday that Putin and Obama spoke for 20 minutes on the sidelines of the summit but that the two were no closer on Syria.
Obama said he intends to address the American people on Syria from the White House on Tuesday, and that he will continue lobbying world leaders and members of the U.S. Congress in the coming days to support limited strikes in Syria.
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