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Obama warns Syria on chemical weapons

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 01:42

March 20 - On day one of his trip to the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, offering tough talk to Syria on allegations of chemical weapons use and calling for diplomacy in dealing with Iran. Sarah Irwin reports.

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On day one of his trip to the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem -- offering tough talk on a wide range of regional issues. At a joint news conference, Obama said the U.S. was investigating alleged chemical weapons use Syria, and maintained he would hold the Assad regime accountable. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "We have been clear that the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people would be a serious and tragic mistake." On Iran, Obama said diplomacy is the first option, but added: (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "All options are on the table. We will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from getting the world's worst weapons." Netanyahu -- meanwhile -- hinted at a possible go-it-alone plan to attack Iran's nuclear program. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, SAYING: "That is why you appreciate that Israel can never cede the right to defend ourselves to others - even to the greatest of our friends." Beyond the strong rhetoric, the two leaders had a moment of brevity earlier in the day- joking about a "red line" with Iran while visiting the Iron Dome defense battery in Tel Aviv. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "He's always talking to be about red lines. So this is all a psychological ploy." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, SAYING: "This was minutely planned." Obama and Netanyahu also reiterated a commitment to find a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians - and on Thursday, Obama will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

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Obama warns Syria on chemical weapons

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 01:42