Obama Syria Statement: "The World Cannot Stand Idly By"

President Barack Obama emerged from the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg Russia on Friday to suggest he has further international support, at least in rhetoric, for action in Syria. There is no firm indication as to whether any other conference member, particularly France, intends to provide military support.

The American president has spent much of the week participating in the economic summit without comment on the debate on Syria unfolding in Congress. The G-20 (or Group of 20), convening this year in St. Petersburg, is the meeting together of a collection of representatives from the world's leading economies, representing approximately 85% of global GDP, to discuss global economic policy. Coverage of the economic summit has, of course, been greatly colored by the Syria issue. 

Obama announced in Friday's conference that there is growing recognition among foreign leaders that “the world cannot stand idly by” in the face of chemical weapons use in Syria. 

Obama said he had a “candid and constructive conversation” with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, although he indicated they still disagree on how to respond to the chemical weapons use in Syria.

He addressed the fact that high numbers of Americans oppose military action in Syria during his statements, but offered little indication of how he may react. He repeated that he "put this before Congress for a reason," saying action will be more effective and stronger if the action is passed. He continued to skirt the question about whether or not he would act if Congress rejects the proposed action, but noted that just because action is unpopular doesn't mean it isn't the "right thing to do."

Obama will address the American people directly on the Syria issue on Tuesday night.



How much do you trust the information in this article?

Rachel George

Rachel is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics. She holds a BA in Politics from Princeton and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard. Her interests include journalism, U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and international law.

MORE FROM

Senate bill would make it a federal crime to boycott Israeli settlements

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) would make it a felony to support international efforts to boycott Israeli occupation.

3 takeaways from Jon Huntsman’s nomination as ambassador to Russia

Huntsman may be a steady hand on the wheel — but with little direction and Russia expertise, Trump's nominee has a challenging road ahead.

Hundreds expect to be arrested during D.C. health care protests

One organizer said "600 people or so" had signed up to be arrested.

The truth about what cycling in the Tour de France does to your body

Is that normal? Let some experts explain.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Here’s what to know about Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia.

The former Utah governor comes to the position with ambassadorial experience — and a fraught history with Trump.

Senate bill would make it a federal crime to boycott Israeli settlements

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) would make it a felony to support international efforts to boycott Israeli occupation.

3 takeaways from Jon Huntsman’s nomination as ambassador to Russia

Huntsman may be a steady hand on the wheel — but with little direction and Russia expertise, Trump's nominee has a challenging road ahead.

Hundreds expect to be arrested during D.C. health care protests

One organizer said "600 people or so" had signed up to be arrested.

The truth about what cycling in the Tour de France does to your body

Is that normal? Let some experts explain.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Here’s what to know about Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia.

The former Utah governor comes to the position with ambassadorial experience — and a fraught history with Trump.