North Country Congressman Bill Owens says the plan announced by the US and Russia on Saturday is the best possible option for dealing with Syrian chemical weapons usage.
Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister called for Syria to eliminate all its chemical weapons by the middle of next year. Syria has one week to handover a list of sites and stockpiles of chemical weapons. Then the weapons will be removed and facilities destroyed by the middle of next year. If Syrian leaders fail to comply, the United States and Russia will seek United Nations action.
North country congressman Bill Owens says this is the best possible outcome.
"This clearly the best outcome we could've hoped for. You know, if we had done a military strike we would've been in a position where we would've degraded his ability to deliver the weapons, but we clearly couldn't strike the weapons," said Owens Saturday.
But two outspoken Republican senators think otherwise, Arizona's John McCain and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham say friends and enemies of the U.S. will view the deal reached with Russia on destroying Syria's chemical weapons as "an act weakness" by the U.S.
The senators, along with the Syrian armed opposition say Syrian President Bashar Assad will just use the time the agreement gives him to delay and deceive the world. But Owens stands by his word.
"Anyone looking at this in a neutral framework would have to conclude that this is worth taking the time to explore, if it doesn't work out, we still have our military options," said Owens.
Even with the new deal, Obama said Saturday the US is prepared to act with military action if diplomacy fails. Owens still hasn't definitively said whether he would support a military strike.
Thursday, February 11, 2016, Watertown, NY