President Obama asks Congress to postpone vote to authorize force in Syria

U.S. President Barack Obama asked the leaders of Congress on Tuesday to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while the U.S. pursues a more diplomatic path.

Obama made the remarks during an address to the nation on Syria from the White House on Tuesday. The President alluded to encouraging signs in Syria about the willingness of the international community to push Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up his regime's chemical weapons. Obama credited the believable threat of U.S. military actions and constructive talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the progress.

"It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments," Obama said. "But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad's strongest allies."

In light of the new potential path, Obama asked leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force. The President said the U.S. would work with France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia to put forth a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and have them destroyed under international control.

Obama said the U.S. military will remain in its current position to keep pressure on Assad if the diplomatic process fails. He thanked the members of the military and their families for their strength and sacrifices.