Cornyn: Russians are part of the problem in Syria, not solution

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Wednesday that Russia is not a “reliable partner” in negotiations to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

“We have very little reason to believe that Moscow is a reliable partner,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor. “The Russians are part of the problem in Syria, they are not credibly part of the solution.”

President Obama had been pushing Congress to authorize a military strike on Syria but asked lawmakers to put off the votes when Syria jumped at a Russian proposal to give up its chemical weapons. 

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Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss a possible deal. Russia has supplied arms to Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is accused of using chemical weapons against his own people.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) countered Cornyn's assessment of Russia, saying she believes they are entering negotiations in good faith.

"This will be a large and complicated process and may take some time to put in place ... but we should take the time to get it done," Feinstein said.

Some senators have said if the negotiations fall through, Congress should still vote to authorize a military strike. Cornyn said he could not support the resolution passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a bipartisan 10-7 vote last week. That resolution authorized the president to use military force in Syria for 60 days.

“I want to see a free democratic Syria as much as anyone else, but that does not mean I will vote for a reckless, ill-advised military intervention,” Cornyn said. “I would be willing to support a military operation in Syria but only if it met a certain criteria.”

Cornyn added that Obama’s plan was “guaranteed to fail” partly because he “broadcasted” the plan to the enemy.