Carney: No timeline for weighing Syria chemical weapons offer

Carney: No timeline for weighing Syria chemical weapons offer
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White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday there was no timeline for evaluating or implementing Syria's offer to turn over its chemical weapons.

On Tuesday night, President Obama said in a primetime address to the nation that he had asked congressional leaders to halt a vote that would authorize him to use force against the Assad regime after last month's sarin attack in the suburbs of Damascus.

But the White House said Wednesday that it did not know how long it would need to evaluate a last-minute offer from the Assad regime — aside from conceding "it obviously will take some time."

"We are doing the responsible thing here, which is testing the potential here for success," Carney told reporters.

He said that the administration needed to evaluate "technical aspects" of assuming control of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, as well as test the seriousness of the offer. Still, the White House spokesman insisted that the president still believes "it is very important to hold Assad accountable."

"I don't want to suggest — because it's certainly not the case — that we're interested in delay or avoidance here," Carney said.

The White House also seemed to concede that Congress would not proceed with legislation authorizing the use of force that did not bake in the potential diplomatic solution.

"A number of members have begun looking at resolutions that might take into account the diplomatic avenues," Carney said, calling those efforts "certainly worthy of pursuit."