Obama says Russia plan on Syria arms may be 'breakthrough'
WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama said that a Russian plan to secure Syria's chemical weapons could be a "significant breakthrough" but warned he had not taken US strikes off the table.
Mr Obama had intended to spend the day selling his plan to launch punitive military strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Damascus regime to skeptical US voters and lawmakers.
Instead, he found himself responding to a surprise Russian diplomatic initiative which would see Mr Assad's stockpile of banned chemical arms taken under international control.
The US leader, who faces a tough task winning Congressional approval for even a limited military action, expressed caution about the proposal but said it would be taken seriously.