A mix of optimism and skepticism are meeting Russia's proposal that Syria give up its chemical weapons as a way to head off the military strike that President Barack Obama says is necessary.
Both Russia and Syria embraced Secretary of State John Kerry’s suggestion Monday that the Syrian government could avoid a U.S. attack if it put chemical weapons under international control, the Washington Post reported.
"I think you have to take it with a grain of salt initially," Obama told NBC News Monday night, referring to the plan. “This represents a potentially positive development. We are gonna run this to ground.”
But Obama also said he would "absolutely" put off a punitive strike if Syrian leader Bashar Assad gave up his weapons, USA Today noted.
Obama told CNN he intended to “engage with the Russians and the international community to see, can we arrive at something that is enforceable and serious."
White House officials say Syria's government launched a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 people, some women and children. Obama says a military strike is needed to enforce a longstanding ban on chemical weapons use.
Public polls suggest a majority of Americans do not support a strike. Obama is leaning on members of Congress to authorize the military strike.
Senators were expected to vote this week, but now that may not happen, Reuters reported.
Minnesota's members of Congress have been skeptical and are looking for diplomatic solutions, MPR reported.
Syria denies launching the attacks. Al-Assad told CBS News on Monday that there is no evidence that his government was behind the attack.
Obama plans to address the nation at 8 p.m. CT in a national address. You can watch the address live on BringMeTheNews.