Everyone waits to see if U.S. & Russia can broker a deal with Syria
POSTED: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 8:02am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A key meeting is happening today in the effort to deal with Syria's chemical weapons.
Secretary of State John Kerry is in Switzerland meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister. Russia is trying to broker a deal to get those weapons out of Syria... And prevent a U.S. military strike.
Meanwhile, everyone from Congress to the United Nations is on hold while diplomacy takes its course.
As Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Geneva this morning, Russia's President is making a direct appeal to the American people.
In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Vladimir Putin says a U.S. strike on Syria would, "unleash a new wave of terrorism" and "throw the entire system of international law out of balance."
The White House insists otherwise, "There is no question that the credible threat of US military force brought us this diplomatic opening," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Kerry meets with Putin's foreign minister today on Russia's plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons. "Our goal here is to test the seriousness of this proposal, to talk about the specifics of how this would get done," said State Dept. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
"To do this sort of thing of destroying chemical weapons in place is gonna be hugely difficult," said Chemical Weapons Expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon.
Congress is on hold, with two new republican senators - John Cornyn of Texas and Nebraska's Deb Fisher - saying they'll vote no, but Democrats insist if today's talks fail, military action is still on the table. "If there is any indication they're not serious or they're being used as a ploy to delay, then Congress stands ready to return to that Syria resolution," said Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).
Tracie Potts, NBC News