Today, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Member of the Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee released the following statement in reaction to reports that Syria has accepted the Russian proposal to surrender control over its chemical weapons:
"I support President Obama and Secretary Kerry in identifying and pursuing a powerful diplomatic path forward with the international proposal to transfer control of Syria's chemical weapons to international monitors for destruction. Such a solution would remove chemical weapons from Syria's control, while ultimately saving lives, avoiding military strikes, and drawing support of the United Nations Security Council. By seizing and destroying the chemical weapons, this diplomatic solution would significantly degrade the Syrian regime's ability to inflict devastating harm upon the Syrian people.
"Russia can and must hold Syria accountable for the atrocities that have taken place and they should take that role seriously. However, this should -- under no circumstances--be used as a stalling tactic. It is unfortunate that it took a threat of the use of force to bring about this development. However, we have a clear opportunity on the table to avoid a military intervention as long as all players involved act in good faith. I strongly encourage Syria to work with the Russians and the international community to finalize the terms of this proposed agreement and quickly work toward disablement of chemical weapons and placement of all chemical munitions, as well as storage facilities, under United Nations control. While I am still weighing all facts and intelligence regarding a potential military strike and a related Congressional resolution, it is now clear that the United States has a critical opportunity to force Assad to turn over chemical weapons immediately."