Clinton: Syria-Russia Plan Better Not Be an 'Excuse'

She says 'inhuman' chemical attack demands 'strong response'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 9, 2013 2:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – Hillary Clinton at last broke her silence on Syria today, offering a cautiously positive US response to Russia's proposal that Syria turn over its chemical weapons stockpiles, Talking Points Memo reports. Clinton, who said she'd just spoken with President Obama about the day's events, said that:

  • If the regime immediately surrendered its stockpiles to international control ... that would be an important step. But this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction. And Russia has to support the international community's efforts sincerely or be held to account.

Kerry had initially appeared to forward the same idea, but the State Department then walked it back as merely a rhetorical statement. Clinton added that these negotiations "only could take place in the context of a credible military threat by the United States." Clinton also reiterated Obama's position that the Assad regime's "inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women, and children" demanded "a strong response." But she said the US was ultimately best served by a political solution along the lines negotiated last year in Geneva, CNN reports.

In a Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the American Bar Association Annual Meeting Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in San Francisco.
In a Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the American Bar Association Annual Meeting Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
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