U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the statement below following President Obama's speech tonight on Syria.
"The diplomatic door has opened ever so slightly and while I have doubts about this 11th hour offer, it would be wrong to slam the door shut without due consideration. A negotiated solution to a crisis is always preferable and if this possibility is legitimate, I'll give it serious thought. At the same time, the credible use of military force is necessary to keep on the table.
"We arrived at this moment as a direct result of action taken last week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when we passed a bipartisan Authorization for Use of Military Force and made clear our intention to act in the national security interest if the Assad regime refuses to abide by international norms against the use of chemical weapons. I am now working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to consider this diplomatic initiative within the context of the committee's resolution. Should diplomacy fail, an authorization of force will send an unequivocal message to the Assad regime and other international actors that the use of chemical weapons will be met with a military response to prevent their use and proliferation."