Obama hails ‘huge victory’ on Syria

President Obama hailed a deal Monday on Syria's chemical weapons as "potentially huge victory for the international community.”

"This is something that we have long sought, and the fact that we now have a framework that will be voted on perhaps as soon as today, perhaps over the weekend or Monday, that would be legally binding, that would be verifiable and enforceable, where there would be consequences for Syria’s failure to meet what has been set forth in this resolution, I think is a potentially huge victory for the international community," Obama said while meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House.

On Thursday, the five permanent members on the U.N. Security Council announced they had agreed to a resolution codifying the process by which Syria would turn over its chemical weapons.


The resolution requires the Syrian government to allow international inspectors unfettered access to its chemical weapons stockpiles but does not include an automatic trigger requiring military action if the country fails to comply. It does call for automatic consideration of a new Security Council resolution if Syrian President Bashar Assad violates the agreement, but that could still be vetoed by China or Russia.

Obama cautioned that "there is a lot of work to be done.”

"Rightly, people have been concerned about whether Syria will follow through on its commitments, as well as concerns about how to get chemical weapons out while still fighting on the ground," Obama said.

He also reiterated his belief that it was "doubtful we would have arrived at this point had it not been for a credible threat of U.S. action."

The Syrian chemical weapons deal was brokered earlier this month in talks between Damascus and Moscow after Obama tried to rally support for a military strike in retaliation for chemical weapons use by the Assad regime in a late August attack that killed hundreds.

Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to participate in a formal meeting of the Security Council later Friday evening.

"Our hope is that the Security Council will pass a resolution that will make binding and enforceable the removal of the chemical weapons," Kerry said Thursday in New York.

A vote on the resolution could come next week.