ABC News reported Thursday, Sep. 5 that President Obama landed in Russia on Thursday morning where he “will come face-to-face with Putin for the first time in their stand-off over Syria.” George Stephanopoulos of ABC News asked on Good Morning America, “Are we in a new cold war with Russia? Does Obama have the votes in Congress?”
Stephanopoulos said that the president will “square off today with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, at the G20 Summit.” According to Reuters, Thursday, Sep. 5 President Obama’s proposed military strike on Syria has passed in the Senate. However, Putin “said U.S. congressional approval without a U.N. Security Council resolution would be an act of aggression,” says Reuters.
ABC News has reported that Putin is “accusing the Obama Administration of lying about Syria.” Reuters reports a similar response from the Russian president, stating that Putin “accused U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry of lying by playing down the role of the militant group al Qaeda with rebel forces.”
“President Obama did not come here to St. Petersburg to meet with his nemesis, Vladimir Putin, but to attend a summit of world leaders. But, Putin is the host of the Summit ... their first face-to-face encounter since Russia granted asylum to one of America’s most wanted fugitives, NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. But, the biggest source of tension today is Syria,” says ABC News’ correspondent, Jonathan Karl.
On the home front, the president’s staff is “intently focused on the debate back in Washington ... Growing opposition from conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats in the House, usually some of his closest allies, has threatened to make passing that resolution authorizing force against Syria even more difficult than they had thought,” reports Karl. Jon Karl said that “the belief among his [President Obama’s] senior aides is that if Congress rejects this resolution, the president would almost certainly not go forward with a military strike on Syria.”
Meanwhile, at the G20 Summit, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has reversed the United Kingdom’s initial stance on Syrian chemical evidence. Cameron presented new evidence, according to BBC News, saying at the Summit on Thursday, “We have been looking at some samples taken from Damascus ... which further shows the use of chemical weapons." The BBC News reports that Cameron “said the UK would lead calls for more action on aid for refugees and push for fresh peace talks.”
Cameron also reportedly said in that BBC News interview, “Britain will be leading the argument on humanitarian aid. Britain will be one of the leaders in bringing forward plans for a peace process for Syria. Britain will be leading the argument across the globe for continuing to respond strongly on chemical weapons.
“I absolutely believe that, having set a red line on the further big use of chemical weapons, it would be wrong if America was to step back and, having set that red line, to do nothing. I think that would send an appalling signal to President Assad and also to dictators elsewhere."